Ezra 7:13 (ESV)
I make a decree that anyone of the people of Israel or their priests or Levites in my kingdom, who freely offers to go to Jerusalem, may go with you.
There are at least four references in Ezra 7:11-20 to freely going, giving, or serving. Those may go who freely offer to go (vs 13). The king’s counselor’s freely offered to the God of Israel (vs 15). The offerings of the people were freewill offerings (vs 16). Those freewill offerings were vowed willingly (vs 16). These were not coerced offerings, coerced giving, or coerced going. Worship and service can never be coerced.
The truth is, we are pretty good at manipulating people. We are good at guilting people. But true service needs to come from hearts that willingly submit to God’s leading. That doesn’t mean that we don’t ask or even challenge. But we need to be careful not to cross the line from challenge to manipulation or coercion. Worship and service is freewill.
So that raises the question: Are you willingly serving and giving? When worship is about us we give when it is convenient. When service is about us we serve when it makes us feel good. But worship and service is never about us. It is about willingly and freely responding to the call of God on our lives. So, are you willingly serving and giving? If not, why not? If so, are you listening well to the Spirit of God who may be calling you to serve or give in ways that had never occurred to you before. Worship and service comes from a free heart responding freely and willingly to the call of the Almighty. I wonder if we have really learned to worship and serve at all.