The Heart of Service, Part 2
In part one, we saw that the Bible calls us to a life of service to Christ and people. We are to follow Jesus’ example to love God and mankind through sacrificial service. The Scriptures have much to say about service. Let’s look at a few more truths from God’s Word regarding service.
Reaping What You Sow
One of my favorite passages of all the Bible is Galatians 6:1–10. Paul really exhorts the church to be on watch for others. We should be eager to help, restore and come alongside one another, helping others understand that the actions they do now will be either rewarded or penalized. Every time I read this passage, I am challenged by the last verse, “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10). Paul’s closing statement in this section is pretty simple: what you do matters, and God will be sure of it; therefore, while you have the opportunity, do good to all! What about you? Are you on the lookout to help others with their sin, trial, burden or task? Or are you being passive, only helping when it is convenient for you? As believers tackling this life together, we should reach out to others when we need help but also be ready to serve and let our lights shine before men so they may see our good works and glorify God (Matthew 5:16). The world is watching, and if we go through life with our head down, we can easily blend in and miss out on serving others with the love of God and winning them to Christ.
Are you a humble person? Do you see yourself rightly? Christ was in Heaven and left it all for you (Philippians 2:3–11). Talk about the ultimate act of humility—the highest of high became the lowest of lows for people who didn’t even like Him. It’s easy to let our pride blind us in seeing ourselves as higher than other people, making them unworthy of our time and effort. We should always be ready to help others and see their needs as more important than our own. What this means, though, is being ready to let your tasks be secondary at times and listening to others as you check on them. When they open up about their life (or even if you see something), be proactive to acknowledge someone’s needs and then help! Mankind didn’t know it needed help, and Christ was in a place where He didn’t have to do anything, but the Father created a plan that met our need and Christ executed it perfectly. Watch out for others and care for them—don’t get caught in the trap of routinely going through your weeks only to realize you haven’t even thought about others needs but instead have only cared about yourself. Encourage someone, send a text, make a call, pray for someone, see a need and fill it, and be a servant as Christ was, always viewing others as more important than yourself.
Last but not least (see the joke there?), favoritism is one of those scary sins that sneaks in under all the good. We can be serving people and doing all the above but then realize we are picking and choosing who we help based on who they are to us. James 2:1 addresses this very clearly: Don’t do it! “My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.” He goes on to explain what that looks like, but let me give a practical example from college life. Have you ever been invited to an event by a person you don’t know that well? What is your thought process? Let’s say for this example, your schedule is completely clear and you can go to this event, but you aren’t sure if you want to. Then comes a closer friend who asks you to another event AFTER the first invite—what do you do? The answer should be simple, but we can consider the first person and place their offer below the second one because we see it as more valuable and a better use of our time. Be careful and check the heart and motives behind your actions. James continues, “If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, ’You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors” (James 2:8–9). Loving your neighbor, the golden rule, screams against favoritism—we are to love all people. There can be priorities! But be a person above reproach whose word is solid and steady and doesn’t pick and choose or go back on their word when something or someone better comes along. Honor your commitments, and honor every person’s request of you, whether it’s a party invite or a service request.
The heart of service starts with a correct view of God and yourself. Be humble and recognize that you are here on earth to serve others and ultimately walk in the good works God has laid out for you (Ephesians 2:10). As you go through your day, have others on your mind—fight to see their needs and then fill them! Don’t only talk or think about it—act. People around us can always be served in some way shape or form. Be ready. Be on watch. Be a person who loves and cares for people so much that your light is always shining so that others look to God and praise Him for your good works.