The words “servant”, “service” and “serve” in various forms, occur well over 1,100 times in the New International Version. People are servants of other human beings or servants of God.
What does service look like to you? Helping the poor, putting aside your needs for those of someone else, giving a ride to a friend, serving your family – the list is endless for that one! Holding the door for someone? The answer is yes! Do you do things even though you will not get human praise for it?
How many of you feel that you serve too little? Too much? How about enough? The funny thing is that sometimes we don’t know how we will be of service. Most of the time, it comes and takes us for a whirlwind. Something we didn’t expect that happens in a blink of an eye.
Sometimes it’s only a random text sent to a friend because you felt such a strong urge to do so!
I think as women we tend to hold ourselves to a higher degree when it comes to serving others. I think that’s why the story of Mary and Martha was put in the Bible! We tend to look at the people around us and judge our serving against theirs. We ask ourselves why we don’t do as much as them. Or why our service can’t be like theirs.
I was guilty of this a lot in my younger years. And in that mindset I would usually take on more than I could handle. I would end up burnt out, and not enjoying the things I found myself doing. It was hard to find the joy in the ways that I served and I knew something had to change.
This summer I had several opportunities to serve in a few different ways. Ways that I knew the younger me would’ve jumped at the chance to have. But the wisdom I have gained over the years made me stop and ask myself if this was something I truly felt lead to do or was it a title I wanted to pursue. And in this wisdom I have found that it’s ok to say no. That there is someone out there who is more qualified with a little more room on their plate to take up that opportunity. And in this, I am able to devote more time to the ministries God has placed me in. I have more time for my family. Because let’s face it. They should get my best service.
So some guidelines to serving…
1 Peter 4:8-11
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.(How many of you think blessing those who persecute you is an act of service?!) Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
I liked these verses because to me, this is when it’s hard to serve. This is when it’s inconvenient. When those we are serving do not like us or don’t understand what we are doing.
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.
So here is my profound and utterly groundbreaking idea.
Serve when it’s inconvenient, when it’s unpopular.
Serve when no one is watching.
Serve the least of these and serve the greatest of these.
Serve the friend that calls at 3 in the morning desperate for a voice to hear.
Serve the family that seems to not notice the things you do for them.
Serve because Jesus came to serve.
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
He served the least of these.
He served in his pain and sorrow and frustration.
He served the lame, the wicked.
He served the one that turned Him over for 30 pieces of silver.
He served the untouchable, the gross and twisted.
And aren’t we supposed to be like him!
When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.”
So in closing…
If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.
Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion.
Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.
My new found love of bringing God’s word in a practical way to women of all ages still comes as a shock to me! But I am thoroughly captivated by the way He leads me and pushes me to dive in and dig more and more. I also have a great love for reaching out to teens and am very active in our teen ministry at LCBC where we call our church home.
My husband Paul and I have been married for 17 years and have two amazing kids! Isa is 13 and Ian is 9.
My hope and prayer is that we all grow closer to each other and closer to our amazing God and watch in awe as he draws us closer to Him!