In the fourth instalment of his teaching on The Easy Yoke, Pastor Kong Hee spoke on the only motivation there should be for serving: love.
“Jesus came to serve, to give His life as a sacrifice for our sins,” said Kong Hee, senior pastor of City Harvest Church as he began his sermon last weekend (1 and 2 October) by pointing out that Jesus served mankind because He loved them.
Expanding on his teaching on “The Easy Yoke”, Pastor Kong reminded the church that they are not obligated to serve God. “But when there is love, you just want to serve,” he said. Just like friends helping one another or a wife supporting her husband—there is no obligation in their service, only love.
Reading John 14:15, the pastor went on to explain the difference between love and obedience. One does not have to love the law to obey it, and a worker may obey his their boss simply to keep his job. Similarly, a Christian may obey Jesus and follow His teachings closely, but that does not mean he loves Him or the church. Serving is only as fun and as invigorating if a person has love in his heart.
LOVE CREATES JOY IN SERVING
Pastor Kong taught that love comes from the Holy Spirit. The first fruit of the Spirit is love. “This means that the first thing that the Holy Spirit grows in your heart in your life is love,” he elaborated. This love is divine and Christ-like, and it allows Christians to do the most difficult things, such as loving an enemy (Lk 6:27). “This kind of Christ-like love is humanly impossible. It is a supernatural gift from the Holy Spirit,” he said.
In Ezekiel 36:25, God promised that He would put a “new heart and a new spirit” in His people so that they can follow His laws. This is how following Jesus and serving Him becomes easy. Romans 5:5 describes how God’s love has been “poured out” into His people’s hearts. In Greek, the word “poured out” means that it is like a waterfall, gushing onto a person. The way God pours His love is like a waterfall, gushing into a believer’s heart until it is soaked and saturated.
“This is exactly what Jesus meant when He says, ‘Out of your innermost being will flow rivers of living water’ (Jn 7:38),” Pastor Kong preached. “Automatically, you’d want to serve God because serving is loving. Love will naturally want to express itself in wanting to help people, especially the poor and the needy, to build up the church to advance the Kingdom of God.”
That is the only right motivation for serving and obeying Jesus. Pastor Kong reiterated from his previous sermon that some people serve God for the wrong reasons which results in them being unhappy when they serve. However, when one serves out of love, everything becomes a joy—there is a supernatural flow, a grace and an anointing.
Pastor Kong explained that serving for the wrong reasons either causes a person to puff up in pride or be filled with resentment. When someone serves because he thinks he is needed, he feels important. But when he fails to receive the appreciation or blessing he believes he deserves, he starts to question God. “Either way, your heart is not filled with love—instead it will harden towards God,” he cautioned.
An important question to ask when one serves, therefore, is “What is this doing to my heart?” Serving should be joyful and satisfying. Even when it is physically or mentally hard and tiring, and even if no one notices the effort, the joy of serving God is the reward.
“Your heart simply enjoys serving out of your love for God and for His people. In that very moment, you are experiencing what Jesus calls an easy yoke and a light burden,” Pastor Kong taught. There will be tremendous joy in waking up for another day of adventure with the Holy Spirit.
WHAT THE EASY YOKE LOOKS LIKE
The senior pastor then shared his own experience: for 18 months, he shared a cell with an Indian man who had committed a violent crime. Other inmates avoided this man because of his temper.
Over time, Pastor Kong noticed that this man received no visitors nor letters. When he asked his cellmate, he found out that the man’s mother had passed away and he was divorced and estranged from his son and daughter. The pastor encouraged his cellmate to write to his children, but discovered he could not read or write. So Pastor Kong offered to help him write letters to his children.
The process of writing the letter was painful: as his cellmate had never written a letter before, he had no idea what to say. Pastor Kong patiently posed question after question to him and helped him draft out a letter. That process sparked a friendship between the two men.
Over the next few months, Pastor Kong would help his new friend write letters to his children, but no letters came back. After almost a year, his daughter finally replied saying that she would visit him in prison. The cellmate cried and said that it was the happiest day of his life. On the day of the visit, he was so nervous that Pastor Kong had to give him a pep talk. The man and his children reconciled, and today, he has completed his sentence and lives with his family.
“Helping him was an easy yoke and a light burden for me,” Pastor Kong said. “It deepened our friendship and helped me to experience the joy of the Lord.”
Another example of serving he gave was driving his son Dayan—he called it a privilege and an expression of love. “This is the fundamental point I’m making—if serving is making you unhappy and frustrated, the way forward is not to serve more or try harder. What you really need is to love more,” Pastor Kong advised. “Ask Father God and the Holy Spirit to work in your heart to soften it, to enlarge it to make it bigger and to marinate it with more of Jesus’ love.”
Once a Christian understands that God is serving him every minute of his life—watching over them, interceding for them—the love of Jesus will recapture his heart. Psalms 45:7 describes how much Jesus enjoys serving His people. “Jesus, the servant King, has more joy than any other because He’s serving the ones He loves,” the pastor added.
The night before Jesus went to the cross, He decided to wash His disciples’ feet—a job that was so low that it was reserved for the slaves. That day, the Creator of the whole universe knelt down before His disciples as their slave. John 13:1 reveals that Jesus loved His disciples to the very end, even Judas Iscariot who would betray Him.
In conclusion, Pastor Kong reiterated that there is satisfaction and joy unspeakable for those who serve out of love. “You will experience a sense of destiny—that you are being who God has created you to be and doing what God has created you to do,” he stated. He closed the service by praying for the church to experience the love of God in their lives.