The Heart of Service, Part 1
What does it mean to have a true heart of service? Each day presents new service opportunities that I can either take advantage of or pass by. Each opportunity causes me to wrestle with this question: Am I reflecting a God-honoring heart of service, or am I being selfish with my time and resources? Of course, we all have responsibilities and can’t do everything for everyone, but the Lord cares about the heart. Consider what Jesus said in Matthew 15:8, “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far away from me.” So my question to you is: Do you have a heart that desires to serve the Lord and others? Let’s break this down with a couple of examples.
Called to Action
In Isaiah 6, Isaiah is in the throne room of God, beholding the King of Kings on His throne—what a sight that must have been. Isaiah’s response changes from an initial reaction of fear to a realization of the weight of his sin as he is then washed, cleansed, and forgiven. What comes next always blows me away. The Lord asks a question: “Whom shall I send? And who will go for Us?” (Isaiah 6:8). It is so amazing that Isaiah answers the call without even knowing the task—the instructions come after the call.
As Christians we face many trials and tasks in life that the Lord orchestrates. Each one makes us grow and teaches us how to trust the Lord more. Even so, seeing Isaiah and his heart to go and be used by the Lord should make us check our hearts. When presented with an opportunity to serve, what’s your thought process? Does your answer depend on what the task is, or is there a willingness to go even when there are unknowns? Now don’t get me wrong—I understand sometimes you have other things planned and you just can’t commit your time. That’s not what I’m talking about. We tend to respond to requests from either an attitude of laziness or a fear of the unknown. Isaiah knew that the Lord needed someone to go for Him—what a glorious task to be given. Each day the Lord calls us to be ready to serve people around us. Are you on the lookout for those opportunities, or are you making excuses?
Christ the Servant
Another issue I wrestle with is our time here on earth—is it for us or is it for God? We can get caught in a pattern in which all we think about is serving ourselves and seeking to accomplish more in this life. If you search the Scripture, it’s clear that we are to be good stewards of our time and money and to work hard. A passage in Mark, though, seems to express another motivation. Jesus’s words here are so clear: “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:35–45). Christ came to us in strict obedience to the Father’s will, which was to serve mankind by laying down His life for us. Wow. Christ the creator and sustainer over all things (Colossians 1), the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, came to serve us. The heart behind service is one which has others in mind, a heart that desires to help, or in this case, save others. Each day, I check myself and ask of the time the Lord has given to me on earth: Am I spending it in the right places, or am I using it only for myself, for what I want to do? Jesus came to serve us, so how much more should I be ready to serve others with the redeemed life He has called me to?
In the second part of this topic on service, we will look at what the Bible says about reaping what you sow, Christ’s humility and favoritism and how they apply to service.