Review: Serving Without Sinking
Serving Without Sinking by John Hindley is a timely, practical and encouraging book that every Christian who is engaged in ministry of any kind should read.
This is a review by Nathan Davies:
Living in the most depressed place in the UK can prove to be a challenge to my joy. Torfaen has the highest use of anti depressants (103 per 1000 prescriptions) in the country and living here means that finding joy is tougher than usual.
Joy, after love, is the second fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23 and therefore must be of high importance in the Christian life. However in the Western world of Christianity I really do not see a lot of outward joy. Why is this?!
I need to fight for joy in a world of depression. This usually involves reminding myself of what God has done in my life and thanking him for all the good things he has given me in Christ and also honourable things in the world like a family, friends in church, a home, food and work.
From week to week of working in different roles it can be very consuming and tiring. I often feel under appreciated, exhausted and fed up at the end of the week and look forward to relaxing on the weekend with my family. However this week I have been enjoying reading a book about Joy called Serving without sinking – How to serve Christ and keep your joy by John Hindley.
A week ago I was honoured to help set up for the Acts 29 Europe conference in Cardiff. On the Tuesday morning after a challenging day before, setting up, I prayed to God for more joy. I then had the pleasure of welcoming in people from all over the world at the beginning of the day. I met the author John at the door, accompanied by his wife and two young children, but I didn’t know who he was until the next day. Of the three to four hundred people I welcomed that morning it was interesting that John stuck in my mind as the happiest person I met during the day! I cannot explain why, he just did! From the five minutes I spent with John during the conference, it is clear (if meeting someone for five minutes is long enough to make a statement like this?!…) that he lives out what he writes about.
I was then delighted to find a new book on joy at the book stalls. It wasn’t until later on in the conference that I found out John was the author! I have actually enjoyed reading the book this week. It starts off by asking a challenging question that gripped me to read it to the end: When Jesus said “come to me all who are weary and I will give you rest”… did he mean now? Or in Heaven? Then John points out many different ways that we as Gods people fail to find true joy in serving Christ. He then shares the gospel truth and points us to Christ who is the source of all our joy and reminds us of who we are in Christ.
The chapter on our marriage to Christ (an area of Christian doctrine that I have never really heard taught on) was particularly eye opening and deeply helpful regarding our service to Christ. The book is packed full of great examples and illustrations of joyful service to God. It is an entertaining and fittingly enjoyable read.
My only question about the content of the book was regarding the discussion of gifts of the Holy Spirit. John quotes passages that list many of the gifts including them ‘miraculous’ ones like healing, prophecy and tongues. He then goes on to describe how we can serve with joy in the areas of administration, teaching, hospitality and mentions nearly all of the other gifts but ignores commenting on the ‘miraculous’ ones. I would have appreciated Johns comment on these gifts too. It is often the miraculous gifts that give people the most joy in the biblical examples (see Acts 3:8).
As service to Christ is what many Christians spend a lot of time doing, but don’t outwardly seem to be very joyful as they do it, I want to recommend this book to anyone who is considering doing anything in Christ name. It will help you to serve with the right motives in mind, and enjoy it as you do (hopefully more often than not)! I think this is going to be a lifelong application of finding joy in Christ. We may always tend to fall back to old ways, but the grace of God compels us to be more like Christ, full of joy as we grow in him.
Why not order the book here, and pray as you read to get more joy as you serve our wonderful King Jesus in every area of life!
You can read more from Nathan at his blog here.