My grandson loves video games. If given the opportunity, he'll stay up all night and forget to eat, hoping to get to the next level. After all, who isn't perpetually optimistic when it comes to careening a motorcycle between cars on an iPhone or facing down Bowser in the final castle of a Mario game?
In her book Reality Is Broken, Jane McGonigal contends that thousands are being drawn to the world of video games by the intoxicating experience of achieving victory against all odds. Bored with real life, they join forces online to triumph over imaginary enemies. They work for hours alongside comrades and allies, not for money, but for the joy of solving problems, grasping new concepts, and saving the virtual world from those who seek to destroy it.
Perhaps we could learn from the gaming world when it comes to the way we think of and approach service. We call people to faith in Christ and then ask them to sit docilely through church "services." We recruit them to usher or work in the nursery, but are we really challenging people to use their unique abilities in service? Are we urging them to take up the cross to follow Jesus down the path of self-sacrifice?
Frankly, many Christians are flat-out bored.
Yet when we were woven together in our mother's wombs (Psalm 139:13), God prepared good works, in advance, for us to do (Ephesians 2:10). We were created to serve. It is our reason for being. Just like you were specially designed with DNA that would result in the color of your skin, eyes, and hair, God has given you a job to do. Your service in the world is a natural outflow of the Creator's good work within you.1