For whatever a man sows he will also reap, because the one who sows to his flesh will reap corruption from the flesh, but the one who sows to the Spirit will reap eternal life from the Spirit. So we must not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, we must work for the good of all, especially for those who belong to the household of faith. Galatians 6:5-10
I was recently having a conversation about serving and service with a friend. He is actually the one who gave me the title of this article without even knowing it. (Thank you Torre Smith for letting me borrow your phrase!) This conversation got me thinking about service and the Christian life.
What does it mean to be lost in service? To answer this question, I think we must first remember that Service is not an obligation. It is not an item to be checked off of a list. Rather, it is an opportunity to share Christ’s love. It is an opportunity to be, as a mentor of mine use to say, be Jesus in people skin, again.
So often, and I am talking to myself here, we tend to think of service as a command that must be completed to win favor in the eyes of God. Guess what? That is completely wrong! While it is good to serve, and some would even argue, the right thing to do, it is not something that we can do to win favor or points with God. He doesn’t love one over another. You don’t gain a better mansion in Heaven because you served more than someone else. Being a servant is something that should be an overflow of love for the Father.
First and foremost, your identity is in Christ. It is not about what others are doing or what you think you ought to do. Rather, who you are in Christ. For example, when Jesus served, He knew who He was in relation to God.
Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. John 13:3-5
You see, Jesus didn’t serve His closest circle of friends so that they would pat Him on the back, or praise Him. No, He did it our of love. Love for God and love for the disciples. Washing of feet prior to a meal was the customary job of the lowly slaves. It was not a glamorous job. It was pretty gross. However, Jesus, seeing something needed to be done and He did it regardless of what anyone would say or think of Him. You also don’t have to market your gifts and abilities. People don’t have to buy into your ability to serve. You just have to use the gifts and abilities given to you to honor and glorify God, and God alone.
Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Philippians 2:1-8
It is easy to let pride get in the way. A thank you for what you do is always appreciated, or dare I say, wanted. But, don’t do it for the thank you or pat on the back. Don’t even do it because it is the right thing to do. Serve out of love.
So, here is my question. Why do you serve? Who do you serve? Do you expect a “thank you” or pat on the back for what you do in service? Or…. are you a Servant lost in service? Do you serve out of your deep love for God and it is just an outflow of that love? Is your heart in a place of personal pride or following God’s grace?
Now, you may say it is not that cut and dry or that easy. Very true!! In this world there are people you love and serve with a pure heart who do not want your service, mock you for what you are trying to do, don’t understand, or may take advantage of you. That doesn’t mean you stop serving. In this writing, that was supposedly found to be one written by Mother Theresa says so much…. Do it anyway! A motto that I need to embrace in all areas of my life.
– reportedly by Mother Theresa
People are often unreasonable and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you.
Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough.
Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end it is between you and God.
It never was between you and them anyway.
Serve as you are going about life. Service should be a part of our lifestyle, not something we just do at church or just on Sunday. God has gifted each one of us to glorify, love and serve Him through the love and service we show towards others. Use the gifts and talents you have. What are you interested in? Where does your compassion surface? Who is in your “world” on a daily basis? Serve…. as you are living the life set before you.
As followers of Christ, let’s truly follow His example and be Servants lost in Service.