This week I put out a query through social media regarding “service”. I asked three questions: 1. Why do you serve others? 2. Where did you learn to serve? 3. What have you gained by serving?
I want to thank all of those who responded. There were several thoughtful replies and they’ve helped me think about this topic more in preparation for sharing a sermon on “Serve”. I thought I’d use this post to share my answers to these three questions:
Why do I serve? When I look at and study the life of Jesus it’s his “servant leadership” that comes through so very clearly. One of the passages that comes to mind is in Luke 22. The sub-heading in my bible reads: “The dispute about greatness”. It concerns an argument among Jesus’ disciples as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest. Can you imagine? (Sadly, I think we can.) In a few short and direct words Jesus sets them straight: “For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.”
It’s the example of Jesus that calls we who follow him to serve others. His servant leadership modeled an expectation for those who follow him and dare to lead according to his example. In today’s world of brash, loud, rude and sometimes embarrassing leaders, I am so glad we have Jesus’ leadership example.
Where did I learn to serve? Like so many who responded to my post, I too learned to serve in my home of origin. Service to others was taught, encouraged and modeled. But I would have to say that the person who has helped me learn the most about service is my wife. Lori graciously, gently, naturally and happily serves others all the time. She does it with a smile, and often her companion giggle. It’s just who she is.
In addition the First Baptist Church of Columbus has taught me a great deal about service. This congregation is comprised of many people who have service as one of their core values. I continually marvel at the ways I see our people involved, serving in our community. Whether its through Love Chapel, Brighter Days, Book Buddies, serving with REC or Emmaus, at Our Hospice, through the ministries of FBC, or in other ways – these folks faithfully live out a value of service. I have learned through their example.
What do I gain by serving? I would again have to agree with several of the responses I received when I shared this question. I gain a sense of satisfaction or joy in serving others in Jesus’ name. I gain a broader perspective that calls me to look at life from the balcony of a big view, and not just the immediate challenges of my own life. I gain far more than I give, when I serve. I often gain God’s blessings in unexpected ways.
Serving is the natural outcomes of growing in Christ once we are connected to Christ. In this sense there is a progression that happens from connect to grow to serve. It’s a beautiful thing when you see someone move through that progression in their faith. May it be so for you, reader.