We serve because Christ served. Jesus was the ultimate model in serving others. In Jesus’ prayer, recorded in John chapter 17, we see Jesus acknowledge that God had given him a work to be done. Jesus had a work to do; a service to complete. He did it and it brought glory to God. His service revealed God’s glory and heart. He told us to serve, then showed us how to serve, doing so with his life (Philippians 2:6-8). In 1 Peter 4:10- 11 says, “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace; whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
How can serving others help us turn our hearts towards God? Serving takes the focus off of us and puts the focus where it should be, on God. Once God is central, we see the greatest commandments for what they are; love God and love people. How can we love both God and people? By Serving! In Matthew 25 Jesus uses a parable to teach the disciples that meeting the needs of His people is the same as meeting Jesus’ own needs. Serving others helps us and others experience the love of God. Whatever your gifts are, use them to serve others, and to build up the body.
We serve from God’s strength not our own. This turns our hearts towards God and turns the hearts of those we serve towards God. Have you ever received a gift that was just too good to be true? Has your heart ever been overwhelmed by someone else’s generosity! And let’s say this gift was meant to be shared. Imagine receiving a gift of two tickets for a game or concert that you’ve been wanting to see your whole life but could never afford or justify buying them yourself. And you know someone who would love to go with you. What would honor the gift giver more? Going to the game alone, without your friend, who would love it? Would it honor the giver at all if you just forget about the tickets? No! Or what if you went but spent your time sulking in the fact that you didn’t really deserve the gift and aren’t even sure why you received the gift. The added blessing of sharing a good gift with a dear friend can be yours!
What would honor the gift giver most is to enjoy the gift together and celebrate the gift giver! This leads to generosity and joy that brings honor and glory to the gift giver. We have been given a gift. When we serve others it is out of God’s strength and generosity, so that we enjoy God and celebrate Him and the gifts He has given us by serving others. We can enjoy life with those we serve. May we serve with generosity and joy, turning our hearts towards God and may people see our lives of service and celebrate God the giver of all good things!
What kind of time, talents, gifting, or ability has God given you that He would have you share with others? Make note of one or two specific examples and ask God how you might be able to serve someone else with them this week. Plan out a way to meet the needs of someone else (physically or emotionally) with a good gift that God has given you, then keep on the lookout for ways God might have you use that gift to help people in any other ways more spontaneously!
This week as we participate in the practice of serving, be looking for opportunities to bring you kids with you when you serve! One of the best ways for kids to see the joy of selflessly serving is by watching others selflessly serve! As a family, volunteer an afternoon to clean up a neighbors yard, prepare a meal for a family with a sick member or a newborn baby. If your children have specific gifts or hobbies that they enjoy, brainstorm ways that they can use those gifts to bring joy to somebody's life!
In your family discipleship time, read the story of Jesus washing the disciples feet in John 13:1-20. Teach your family that Jesus was a servant to all and he calls us to be servants to others! If you are feeling brave, wash your kids feet!
Finish your time reciting the memory verse (Psalm 51:10-12) as a family again and then praying in thanksgiving for all of the ways God has served us and asking Him to give us strength to serve others!