Home   e-Library       中文 
e-Library Home |  Browse By Category |  Study the Bible    
 (Manna 65: Missionary Work)
The Joy and Grace of Serving the Lord
TOC | Previous | Next

The Joy and Grace of Serving the Lord

Grace F.L. Ho—Malaysia

“The longer I serve Him, the sweeter He grows …”[i]

Serving the Lord certainly grows sweeter as years go by, although we may meet with difficulties along the way. In fact, these hardships help us to see the Lord’s guiding hand and strengthen our trust in Him. Therefore, whenever we are weak and unsure of the next step, we need to rely on the Lord—we will be awe-stricken at how the Lord solves our problems and leads us on. Such is the unspeakable joy that I have experienced in serving the Lord, especially since I joined the missionary work in India.

By the guidance and mercy of God, I have been helping with Youth and Children Ministry in southern India since 1999. In recent years, I also joined in the gospel outreach work in Chennai city (Tamil Nadu, South India), and in Darjeeling (Calcutta area, in the north-eastern part of West Bengal).


My greatest fear in serving the Lord is to work against God’s will. I have a phobia about working by my own inclination. Doing so would be disastrous as it would be a waste of time, effort, human resources and money; nobody would be edified and God could not be glorified. There is, however, a deep satisfaction and comfort when you know God is with you in your work. In fact this is all that matters. We are sent to do His work, not ours.

In 2001, I was tasked to plan and execute all Religious Education and Youth programs in India. While planning for the first Intermediate Youth Bible Camp in 2002, I was unsure whether our plans were suitable. Thank God, the Lord knew my concerns and allayed my fears. During the Bible camp, a young sister saw a vision of several shepherds with a flock of sheep and lambs in a jungle. Among the shepherds was a man in a radiant white robe whose face she could not see. Yet, she knew that He was Jesus Christ. Praise the Lord, we were strengthened with the knowledge that the Chief Shepherd was with us in our mission.


Preparing for a mission trip usually calls for many hours and days of knee work. We need to pray to understand what God wants us to do and to ask for His guidance. I would usually ask some close church friends at home and abroad to pray for the work we are sent to do whenever we embark on a missionary trip. Quite often, when I see God’s blessings and guidance in the midst of our assignment, I can only sigh with thankfulness for the prayers of these concerned brothers and sisters. My joy is complete when, upon returning, I can share with them on how the Lord has worked through their intercessions.


Serving the Lord is indeed full of challenges. We know that a servant of God should have certain qualities such as faithfulness, sincerity, integrity, honesty, gentleness, kindness, patience, understanding etc. This is fairly easy to achieve when we are not faced with opposition or divergent opinions. However, when we encounter difficult and self-centered people, living up to those qualities turns into a challenge. During these times, human relations become a thorn in our flesh. Nevertheless, we need to be faithful to our work, do the necessary and yet not hurt our co-workers. As I carefully tread this delicate path, I learn to trust God for wisdom to do the right thing.

In one particular case a co-worker wanted to change a program that had already been pre-arranged. Remembering Paul’s exhortation to serve God and not man, I eventually decided to abide by the given plan. Looking back, I truly thank God that He guided me without affecting the working relationship with others and the Lord’s work was not hampered. As we serve we learn the intricate skills of working along with others. This is a bonus grace for me.

The intricacies of getting things done among people with a different cultural background and work attitude can sometimes be very trying and tiring too. Although I have been in India so many times, I still find it difficult to understand their culture and mindset. Once, an Indian minister of our church told me frankly that it takes an Indian to understand the Indian mind.

Thank God, over the years I have learned to work with our beloved spiritual family in India despite the cultural differences. As missionary workers, we need to understand that we are sent to help; for this reason we are expected to show greater patience and love, and to correct with gentleness and humility when necessary (2 Tim 2:24–26).


Working with a team of like-minded co-workers is a crucial factor in the joy of serving the Lord. It is a blessing that we have a team of dedicated, optimistic and passionately mission-oriented workers for the India missionary work. We share the same goal and passion for the Lord’s flock. Along the way, there may perhaps be an argument or two as we confer, discuss and plan, but we know why we are there. Every worker knows his mission and his call to serve the Lord’s young flock.

At the end of each mission trip, I always have this feeling: thank God we had each other to complete His work! As we part for home after every mission, we hug and shake hands, thanking God for another completed assignment. We are filled with the joy of having shared the fruit of labor. Such is the joy and spirit of comrades-in-Christ!


Serving in India is not without physical difficulties. The long tedious journey, the back-breaking terrain up mountains, the dust, the grime and the polluted air of choking carbon dioxide in the unending traffic jams in a chaotic city are some of the physical discomforts we have to compromise with.

Sometimes, we may still be traveling in the middle of the night, reaching our destination well after midnight. By the time we climb into bed it may already be 2 am or later. Yet, we have to be up by 6 am the next morning to pray for strength and guidance in our work. Tiring indeed and I often wonder how I “survived” given my frail physique. But as I reminisce, my heart overflows with praise and thanksgiving for God’s abundant grace.

Once, after coming home from a mission trip, a minister in my local church approached me and held both my hands in his. As he praised God for bringing me home in good health, tears welled up in his eyes. I was touched beyond words. Thank God, over the years and with each missionary trip I have become healthier. This is a fact that local church members and my friends attest to. Indeed, I am humbled by God’s grace and mercy for me, an unworthy maid in His service.


A life of service to the Lord would have its source of inspiration to start with. As for me, my first inspiration came from God’s love, which has so very often touched me to tears and has motivated me to serve Him.

I began to be interested in missionary work in my late teens, when I read about various Christian missionaries. In addition, I received much spiritual inspiration from our church’s elders when I was assisting in theological seminars in Singapore in the seventies and eighties. These full-time ministers made an indelible impact on me with their dedication, humility, love and wisdom. In addition, I could see how much beauty and meaning serving the Lord brought into their lives.


Indeed, serving the Lord deepens and broadens our perspective of life. Personally, I feel untold joy and inner peace to know that the time, money and effort spent will never go to waste, despite difficulties and hardships. We can rest assured that serving the Lord will bring an unfading and imperishable reward from the Master on the day we meet Him, along with the joy and grace we receive now on earth.

So dear readers-in-Christ, do you sometimes feel a void in your life although you attend church, pray and read the Bible? That’s because the Lord has a task for you. He’s waiting to give you the joy and grace of serving Him!

[i] Hymns of Praise No. 414

PDF Download