It has been said of Jesus that He came to earth not to be served, but to serve and give His life a ransom for many.
The idea of “serving someone” seems so foreign in America. The closest thing that comes to mind is a server at a restaurant. That is a sad commentary on today’s society. How often do you serve someone whole heartedly without expecting ANYTHING in return? Think about it . . . even servers get tips. I would assume that most of the time we expect the favor to be returned---no matter who it is. Many get a little ticked-off and scream that it’s not fair when they worked harder than the other person.
In many ways I do not have much to offer the world. I can’t heal the dying or raise the dead. I can’t cure cancer. I can’t feed all the hungry nor take away everyone’s pain. However, I can preach God’s message. I can help those with heavy burdens by making them more bearable. Often something as simple as offering friendship and providing an extra shoulder to lean on is a powerful act of service.
Put simply, I am very excited to serve with whatever I have. I have learned that truly serving others improves who I am by keeping my focus off of me and places focus on others. Serving humbly and selflessly allows me to care about people in a way that God does. For me to be more like God I must begin with serving others. This means looking at someone else’s needs more than my own and using my “little” to help others “a lot.”
Serving Takes Sacrifice
When one decides to be a servant they must make sacrifices for their service to be blessed. It is for this very reason that so many people shy away from serving others. They conclude that it will cost too much.
Jesus served His fellow man. His service was impressionable because He did not have the clothing of royalty, live in a fancy mansion or hang out with society’s elite. He did, however, use what He had. He gave His all to everyone around Him. People followed Him because He gave with sincerity and His devotion touched their lives in a personal way. In the end Jesus gave the ultimate sacrifice---His life.
If someone offers what they have, they too must make sacrifices. The preacher makes sacrifices when he preaches; he does not have the luxury of listening in a crowded church building to the message of hope because he is delivering it. The song leader and the pianist make sacrifices when they lead the music; they do not get the joy of relaxing in the worship time because they are focused on leading a service that will connect people to God through the harmony. The servers at the communion table make their sacrifices as they deliver the emblems to the hands of God’s people; they often are unable to spend an intimate, quite, personal time while everyone else is doing so through their meditation. The person feeding the hungry makes their sacrifices; their enjoyment of the meal is suspended because of their efforts in preparation and serving the food. While everyone else is filled, they go hungry. The man teaching in the prison makes his sacrifices; with each visit he sacrifices time and freedom so he can meet with men who have broken the rules of society. He sacrifices to give these prisoners a new hope for an eternal reward. The missionary makes sacrifices too as he carries the gospel across the borders. He is faithfully presenting God’s Word to a people who often reject his preaching, reject him and his family---leaving the missionary in a condition of loneliness and suffering feelings of rejection.
Do you get the picture? True service leads to making necessary sacrifices to make the service beneficial.
Serving Marks Maturity
Serving others is not for the faint of heart. It costs you something. The one being served often reaps the rewards; the one doing the serving pays the price. Often there are no accolades, no promotions, no credits. Just a lifetime of scars and stories of being offended, hurt, pushed, and criticized.
Most would crush under such punishment. However, service brings maturity. Each act of grace ripens the fruit of maturity in the life of a servant. Each challenge faced brings accomplishment. Each accomplishment delivers wisdom, experience and responsibility.
Endurance and longevity are the marks of mature servant. One cannot be considered a reliable servant without hanging in through the tough times. Jesus proved this when He passionately prayed to his Father, “Not my will, but Yours be done.” He served to the very end by paying the highest price.
We never read of Jesus complaining about the hardships. We do not read of Him giving up when He was faced with another obstacle or had to endure a crushing moment. He faced all of it and continued to serve faithfully. That is maturity.
Serving Gives Satisfaction
How can a battered servant be satisfied when they have been through so many struggles? The Hebrew writer speaks of Jesus when he says, “For the joy that was set before Him He endured the cross.” What? Did he say “joy”? That is what he proclaims, but how?
Simple . . . Jesus looked past the immediate and He focused on what He accomplished. The immediate was the pain of the cross. The accomplishment was the satisfaction of knowing He has completed what He set out to do----to seek and save the lost.
When a mother delivers a baby she is satisfied when she hears that first cry and she puts the pain behind her and focuses on her precious child. When a Sunday school teacher sends a student to Bible College he is satisfied because those hours of laborious study becomes justified. When foster parents hug a child and deliver her into the hands of loving family and a new home they are satisfied, excusing those frustrating moments of teaching a wayward child obedience.
Satisfaction is defined by an inner peace of knowing you served well and an outward joy derived by an accomplished goal.
Are you looking to be served or are you searching for opportunities of service? Serve others around you and you will discover it makes all the difference in the world.
Go serve someone.
I asked my Facebook friends to tell me what SERVICE means to them and what effect it has had on their life. Below are a few quotes I received:
Karen wrote, “Being a servant is the ultimate choice we can make.”
Buddy wrote, “Being a servant is doing our duty without expecting the praise of men.”
Karen C. wrote, “Service is about helping others. Pay it forward as my grandmother taught me.”
David wrote, “Service is a natural result of love.”
Jerry wrote, “You’re never more like Jesus then when you serve.”
Ray wrote, “Service is helping without thinking of the aftermath.”
Dianna wrote, “Service is doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. It is about giving of oneself unselfishly.”
Beth wrote, “In American Sign Language the sign for service is made with both hand open, palms facing up and you move them back and forth. This reminds me that true service must have some give and take.”
Stan wrote, “Service is giving 110% and leaving with the hope/satisfaction that you have made a difference.”
Sharlene wrote, “Service is anything big or small that is helping someone else. No questions asked and ending with joy and happiness of making someone smile.”
Wayne wrote, “Service is using our God-given abilities to glorify Him.”
Lynn wrote, “Service is putting others ahead of us without expecting recognition. Service shows our love for Christ.”
Susannah wrote, “Service is using our personal gifts to reach out to help our brothers and sisters.”
Lori wrote, “Service means doing something for someone without expecting anything in return.”
In : Faron's Footnote
Tags: service servant servanthood "christian acts"