Feeling Appreciated by God: The Difference Between Service & Performance

I just have to share this quote from Mark Driscoll’s new book “Who Do You Think You Are?” The book is all about how Christians define their identity. Each chapter focuses in on a particular part of our identity in Christ. It is in his chapter on “I am Appreciated” he talks about how understanding that God really does appreciate us frees us from living life as a performance for others and opens us up to embrace serving others instead. I haven’t read a ton of Driscoll’s books and I haven’t spent a lot of time listening to his sermons. I am familiar with him and some of the controversy that surrounds him at times and I am aware of the perception that Mark sometimes comes across as harsh. So far, this book has completely undone that perception. This book is loving. It is kind. It is gentle. I have been greatly blessed by it so far. Here is the quote,

“Knowing God appreciates us allow us to exchange our performance for service. Performance is done for the sight and approval of others. Service is done knowing that God is watching and approving whether or not anyone else is. Performance causes us to be enslaved to others’ opinions, unable to say no, and prone to being overworked. Service frees us to do what God wants, thereby saying no as needed. Performance presses us toward perfectionism, where we seek to do everything just right so others will praise. us. Service allows us to do our best, knowing that God’s appreciation of us is secure regardless of our performance. Performance causes us to focus on the ‘big’ things and only do what is highly visible or significant. Service allows us to do simple, humble, and menial takss–the ‘little things’–knowing that the peasant, Jewish carpenter we worship equally appreciates them both.” (p.62)show we are superior performers,

That is a meaty quote. Because God loves us and God is watching over us in everything and because we do it as if we are doing it for the Lord, we don’t live to perform for people. We live to give glory to God. If we follow the example of Jesus we know that service to others is close to the Lord’s heart because he came as a servant. So we don’t live to do everything for public consumption and public praise. We don’t do what we do for the spotlight. In fact, the spotlight moments should only flow out of the depth of service, character and integrity we develop in those moments the spotlight will never see.


About mattdabbs
I am a minister, husband, and father. My wife and I live and minister in Saint Petersburg, Florida. My primary ministry responsibilities include: small groups, 20s and 30s, involvement, and adult education.

7 Responses to Feeling Appreciated by God: The Difference Between Service & Performance

  1. Hi Matt! Love the quote and your perceptions of it. i hope you’ll write more about the book as you progress through it. i hope to find it and read it myself. Sounds very intriguing. God bless you Brother. Grace and Peace.

  2. whlifetogether says:

    I started reading the book as well. Great read so far.
    Currently some of our leaders are talking abou the need for “excellence” in all we do. I have felt uncomfortable about that term for awhile. After reading the first chapter ni this book and some other reading I feel like I have more clarity.
    To me “excellence” almost always leads me in the performance not service direction. I am not saying that we want everything we do as a church or be poorly done or poorly designed or poorly prepared for. And i don’t believe that living in the Spirit means we never study or prepare and we just go with however we are feeling.
    Yet, I think I’m looking for something else as a disciple of Jesus, filled with His Spirit, attempting to build up the body of Christ.

    • mattdabbs says:

      Tabernacle = excellence (especially building that in the wilderness)
      Temple = excellence
      Heaven = excellence

      I would imagine God would want his church to be marked by excellence as well. The question is, excellence in what? If it is excellence in being like Jesus, embracing a servant heart, showing people how to work through suffering, spiritual leadership and shepherding…then I am on board.

  3. whlifetogether says:

    I am all for excellent buildings and grounds.
    But when you grade people by excellence, sooner or later they fall or they hide. Paul doesn’t claim to be excellent, but the chief of sinners. He also claims to work hard. But he says even his preaching is with “weakness and trembling.” He says that Jesus is excellent (my word) and that he wants us to follow him as he follows Jesus. And the very excellent (my word again) Holy Spirit lives inside of believers. But even the keeping in step with the Spirit is an uneven course at best.
    Paul seems to lead through his weaknesses, not his excellence. We are jars of clay and He is the treasure within.
    2 Cor 12 “8 Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. 9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
    Jesus emphasis for the Kingdom is always on the workings of the heart. We all desire and are called to walk with God so that our hearts might be transformed. But that is a day by day process.

  4. I couldn’t resist commenting. Well written!

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