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Question: Why should we cultivate a lifestyle of serving?
Answer: If we want to follow Jesus, we must have a lifestyle of serving. Jesus repeatedly commands us to see our world as a chance to serve and not a chance to be served.
The Problem 😩
We live in a culture that constantly teaches us to focus on ourselves and what we can acquire. As a pastor, one of my roles is to teach Christian ethics. One of the chief foundational ethics is a lifestyle of serving. Because this is counterintuitive to our culture, I am usually met with one of three responses:
- All you want is free labor.
- Not unless I get paid. I know my value.
- If serving is so great, why don't you work for free?
Can you see the underlying problem with all three of these statements? There is a hint of being offended and a desire to focus only on themselves. Over the past 50 years, our culture has shifted from focusing on doing what was best for our local community to doing what was best for our family, to now where we only focus on doing what is best for ourselves. This is antithetical to the Way of Jesus. Jesus taught us to serve as an act of worship to Him. Let's go deeper.
Living a Life of Service 😁
From the very beginning, God created us to be servants. In Genesis 2:15, we see that God put Adam in the garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. Throughout the Bible, we see countless examples of individuals who lived a life of service to God and others. This post explores what it means to live a service life from a biblical perspective.
Serving Others as Serving God 🙏
In Matthew 25:34-40, Jesus tells us that when we serve others, we serve Him. He says,
"For I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited me in, I needed clothes, and you clothed me, I was sick, and you looked after me, I was in prison, and you came to visit me."
When the righteous ask Him when they did all these things for Him, Jesus replies, "Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me."
This passage reminds us that we are serving God Himself when we serve others. It's not enough to simply go through the motions of serving others without a heart for God. We must serve others with the same love and compassion that Christ showed us.
A Lifestyle of Sacrifice 👍
Living a life of service requires sacrifice. In Romans 12:1, Paul urges us to offer our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God. This means we must lay down our desires and preferences to serve others. Jesus Himself modeled this for us when He laid down His life for us on the cross.
In John 13:14-15, Jesus says, "Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. I have set an example that you should do as I have done for you." Jesus' washing His disciples' feet was a humble service demonstrating His love for them. He calls us to follow His example and serve others with humility and selflessness.
The Joy of Serving 😁
Living a life of service isn't always easy, but it brings great joy and fulfillment. In Acts 20:35, Paul quotes Jesus as saying, "It is more blessed to give than to receive." When we serve others, we experience the joy of giving and making a difference in someone else's life. This joy is not dependent on our circumstances or happiness but on the satisfaction of knowing that we are doing God's will and making a difference in the world.
Living a life of service is not just a good idea; it's a biblical mandate. As Christians, we are called to love God and love others, and serving others is one of the most tangible ways we can demonstrate that love. By serving others, we serve God Himself and experience the joy of making a difference in the world around us. Let us strive to live a life of service, sacrificing our desires and preferences for the sake of others and the glory of God.
🔟 Practical Ways of Serving Others*
1. Help your family. (Romans 12:10)
When was the last time you cleaned the dishes or made dinner, not because it was your turn, but just because you could? It's easy to forget that the ones we must serve the most are often closest to you. How would the attitudes in our homes change if we started each day by asking, "How can I help you today?" and then followed through on the response.
2. Volunteer at church. (Peter 4:10-11)
The people who greet you on the way into service, the folks who create copies for KidSpring, writers like me — we're not superhuman. God isn't looking for super-Christians; He's building the church with ordinary people just like you.
We all have at least one spiritual gift. What do you enjoy doing? What do others say you're good at? What's your schedule look like? These kinds of questions can help you discover the place where God wants you to serve the church.
3. Donate items to a homeless shelter. (Matthew 25:46)
We all have more than we need. Get the family together and clean out the house gathering clothes, toys, books, and coats to donate.
4. Send someone an encouraging note. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
Encouragement is a gift we can give that costs us nothing. Pick a friend or family member each week and send an email, text, or handwritten note telling that person you are proud of them, that you're praying for them, or that you're here to help.
5. Deliver a meal. (Acts 20:35)
When you make dinner, double that recipe and take it to someone who may need a helping hand. A busy mother, a sick friend, or an elderly neighbor would love a night free from worrying about what's for dinner.
6. Watch someone's kids. (Hebrews 13:16)
Do you know a young family that could use a date night? Call them up and offer to babysit...for free!
7. Help other people shine. (Philippians 2:3)
We want people to acknowledge our accomplishments, but in Philippians, Paul tells us to consider others better than ourselves. Helping others showcase their gifts and talents is an awesome way to serve someone.
8. Listen. (James 1:19)
Take time to sit with your kids, a friend, your spouse, or a neighbor and just listen to them. Make a point to put your agenda aside and focus on what someone else has to say!
9. Pay it forward. (Proverbs 11:24-25)
While in line at the grocery store, coffee shop, or a fast food place, pay for the person behind you, no strings attached. Your generosity could make someone's day.
10. Anticipate serving. (Galatians 6:9)
One of the best ways to find opportunities to serve is to ask God to give them to you. God will answer, so be ready to jump in whenever the Holy Spirit nudges you.
A Final Word
Serving others is such a gift. It truly is better to give than to receive. Give it a chance and see how it goes.
*Thank you, Anna Collins, for the resource https://newspring.cc/articles/10-easy-ways-to-serve-someone-today