25 Oct SERVE – GO AND BE
Over the past several weeks, our team has shared some of the practices and tools that we have found crucial to growing in our individual walks with the Lord. As we bring our series of spiritual rhythms to a close, we want to encourage you to take that inner intimacy with the Lord and move it into an outward expression toward others.
It doesn’t take much thought about our society today to see that the general attitude is one of self-fulfillment. Books promise secrets to a “happy life.” Podcasts offer conversations that claim to give us the key to success in our jobs and relationships. And song lyrics tell us that we can be whoever we want to be.
Basically, it’s all about us.
But the Bible tells us something different, something very contradictory to what the world is shouting at us today. It tells us that instead of focusing on ourselves – on how we can be happier, more comfortable, and more satisfied – that we instead should focus on others and how we can better serve them.
Galatians 5:13-14 says, “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” Our desire to serve should not come from selfish ambition, or in order to receive praise or check a box, but should come as a result of the freedom that Christ offers us and the love that is in our hearts because of what He has done in our lives.
The more we know Christ and have an intimate, meaningful relationship with Him, the more naturally service becomes a part of who we are. We can’t love Him more without also desiring to serve Him more.
In Matthew 20:20-28, the mother of James and John, two of Jesus’ disciples, comes to Him and asks Jesus to give her sons a higher status – to allow them to sit at the right and left side of Him in His Kingdom. When the other disciples heard this, they were angry. Jesus responded to them by saying, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
In John 13, we see the account of Jesus washing His disciples feet at the Last Supper. Afterwards He says, “Do you understand what I have done for you? You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and do so correctly, for that is what I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you too ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example: you should do just as I have done for you.”
In these two examples, Jesus has basically shown that there are two options: we can seek to serve ourselves and gain the power and satisfaction with self that the world craves; or we can seek to be more like Jesus and live to serve others.
Honestly, right now as I write this, I am desperately trying to get my 7 week old son to take a nap and I can’t get the thought out of my mind that the way we serve our newborn babies is a beautifully messy picture of the way that Christ asks us to serve His people. Serving my baby looks like constantly trying to anticipate his next need, looking for ways to comfort him when he’s upset, and providing things for him that he can’t provide for himself. And seeing that he’s 7 weeks old, he really shows me no gratitude. In fact, after all this serving, the only thanks I get in return is a dirty diaper and a shirt covered in spit up.
But isn’t this what Christ calls us to do? To find the most needy, most thankless people and serve them the way that He served us by dying on the cross? Acts 20:35 says, “In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
What if all of us who call ourselves “Christ followers” loved and served in this way? How many people would come to know Him or fall deeper in love with Him by the way we serve? Matthew 5:16 says “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
Let’s be different from the world.
Let’s invest our time in knowing and loving God more so that our lights shine brighter and more people are drawn to Him. Let’s stop looking for ways to serve ourselves and instead serve others because we trust and love Jesus so much that we can’t not serve His people and be on mission for Him!
Let’s go and be the people He has called us to be!