Service is Love in Work Clothes
We love neighbors and nations.
Words expressing servanthood are used more than 300 times in the New Testament but the Biblical idea of service contradicts the ME-FIRST-generation with its emphasis on self and being all I can be.
Being a servant doesn’t mean that I let other people walk over me. Service doesn’t mean, “I’ll do whatever YOU want to do.” Actually, to be a good servant I must have a clear sense of mission, of purpose, of calling. I need to respond to the God call of service. How is God asking you to serve others? I am not asking what other people think you should do, but what is God calling you to do?
The Apostle Peter urges us to “use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms” (1 Peter 4:10 NIV). Are you utilizing your gifts and abilities to faithfully fulfill kingdom responsibilities? Are you yielding your gifts and abilities to allow God’s Word to be communicated? Are you empowering your gifts and abilities by drawing from the ready-supply of God’s strength? Are you directing your gifts and abilities to bring praise and glory to Jesus Christ? As we join together, we accomplish great things.
In world’s eyes, greatness is being in charge, being the best, being a celebrity. But you could be lead engineer at NASA, the president of a fortune 500 company, a professor at UAH, an Alabama or Auburn football player, or even the pastor of a large church and still not be great in God’s eyes. Our Heavenly Father prizes service. Faithful service is valued and is honored by God.
Do I go out of my way to serve guests who come into the doors of the sanctuary of Valley? Do newcomers feel love and care? Am I willing to get my hands dirty? Can I find an area of ministry that offers no glamour or prestige, and might even be physically demanding? How much skill does it take to clean up excrement from an elderly body? How much time does it take share a handshake or a hug? How much effort does it take to smile? You know, every Valley Fellowship short-term mission trip reminds me – even small actions display God’s love. The men in the above picture loading luggage from the boat on the Amazon River opened the door for great things during our 2010 adventure to Columbia, Brasil, and Peru.
Are we ready to do something significant for the kingdom of God? Real ministry takes place when I get my hands dirty and practically serve people where they live. Oswald Chambers, the author of the classic devotional My Utmost for His Highest, advises “Never allow the thought, ‘I am of no use where I am,’ because you certainly can be of no use where you are not.” You can make an impact.
The opportunities to serve the Lord at Valley Fellowship are endless – parking-lot security, table setup, construction labor, video production, yard work, fence-row clearing, greeting, food distribution, diaper changing, children’s church cleanup, hotdog grilling, window washing – more than I can list! So, what are you going to do? American industrialist Henry Ford wisely quipped, “You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.”
What makes you say, “Why doesn’t someone do something about this?” Ask God what He wants you to do about it. Get into service. Perform random daily acts of kindness and service. Shoulder ongoing, structured, organized kingdom responsibilities – weekly or at least monthly. Tackle a big project at least once a year – a mission trip, Christmas feeding, or kids camp.
Some people are difficult to serve. Oswald Chambers divulges “If I love Jesus Christ, I will serve humanity, though men and women treat me like a doormat.” Ultimately, I must keep in mind that I’m not serving my spouse or my kids; I’m not serving the elders; I’m not serving that cranky church member; I’m not serving that troublesome person at the office.
As I serve my children – I am serving Jesus Christ. As I serve my spouse – I am serving Jesus Christ. As I serve my employer – I am serving Jesus Christ. As I serve my church – I am serving Jesus Christ. I am serving Jesus Christ . . . how about you?
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Colossians 3:23-24 NIV