The Joy of Serving

The Joy of Serving
The Joy of Serving

The Joy of SERVING

This weekend I was asked to speak on the joy of serving.  What is serving?  What does it mean to serve?  As I wrote out what I was planning to say, I spent a lot of time thinking about this topic and thinking about people and how we view serving others.  I looked up serve in the dictionary and it explains that to serve is to work for somebody; to provide customers with goods; to be in the armed forces; work as a servant; to be used for something; assist somebody in a particular way; give someone food or drink; spend time in prison; deliver a legal document; and finally – worship somebody or something.  Wow!  No wonder we are so messed up.  The world’s view of the word serve offers so many uses of this word that have nothing to do with being joyful or loving others.  We as Christ followers have to daily remember Romans 12:2 which says,

“Be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind so that you may prove that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

God’s word has a lot to say about serving and the central theme is about the greatest Servant of all – Jesus Christ.  Mark 10:45 says,

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve,”

Jesus set the greatest example of what it means to serve and we are expected to follow that example.  However, many of us get confused with that word “Serve” and all of its meaning.  We may even have negative feelings about it.  At times we may even see a servant as someone who is held in bondage and demanded to work for a wage.  That is in no way the type of servant the Bible is talking about.  We are not being beaten into action.  No.  We are being called, encouraged and; inspired to serve.  It is an act that we can freely and joyfully decide to offer others.  So…with all of that being said – how should we view serving?

Serving is giving of your time, your talents, your blessings; expecting nothing in return.  It is caring so deeply and loving so purely that you desire to give of yourself.  A good example of this may be a mother serving her children.  No one pays you to take care of your children.  No one makes you take care of your children. But when you look in your child’s room on a cold night and they have kicked off their blankets.  You are happy to tiptoe in and pull those covers back up to keep them warm.  They will never know you did that.  They will never thank you for it.  Doesn’t matter.  You serve them because you care deeply and love purely. 

The joy of serving should be carried into our daily life and offered to those God brings into our lives.  Some are easy to serve – some, hmmm… not so much.  But our desire to serve, the joy we have to serve starts with the relationship we have with Christ.  Matter of fact, the truth is when we give Christ His rightful place as Lord of our lives, His Lordship will be revealed in the way we express love to others and the way we serve others.  (We need to write that sentence down and keep it where we can see it. Let it hold us accountable to love and serve others.)  It takes a transformation of our attitude.  Philippians 2:3 says,

“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.”

So, what are some ways that we can experience the joy of serving?

First, we can learn to put others first.  That means that we can be aware of other’s needs.  We can allow ourselves to be available to them – to listen, to encourage, to pray for them and with them, to offer a hand to help.  We can stop living our life based on our own selfish agenda.  Refute the world’s motto that “It is all about me” and live out the biblical teaching that true JOY comes when we put Jesus first; Others next and Yourself last.

We should accept that we have been equipped to serve.  God’s word is alive and real.  Every word is the truth.  Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  So, don’t doubt yourself when you are prompted to serve.  Just step up and do it in God’s strength.  Now, I am not suggesting to run yourself ragged doing for others.  No.  Even Jesus took time to care for His spiritual and physical needs.  Seek God’s guidance and direction.  Serve others by doing what God calls you to do, prompts you to do and inspires you to do.

Lastly, serve by loving others and offering them unconditional love and acceptance.  That means STOP judging others!  Accept that their worth and value has been instilled in them by their creator.  And regardless of the choices they have made and the way we feel about those choices –their worth has not been diminished.  (If we struggle to realize that it is only by the grace of God that we are in a good place in life – then we have a pride issue.  Instead of judging someone else – stop and thank God that you are not in that position.)  Everyone deserves love and acceptance.  Let’s become really good at offering that.

As I close this out today – let’s all remember that one sentence and carry it forward with us throughout this new year.

“The truth is that when we give Christ His rightful place as Lord of our lives, His Lordship will be revealed in the way we express love to others and the way we serve others.”  My prayer for you is that this year you will truly experience the joy of serving.

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