Embody Week 2: Serving

Let Service Be Rooted in Seeing
Jonny Custer
Much of our days are characterized by looking right through other people in our efforts to fulfill our own concerns. We have items on a “mental list” that we consider in need of being done. The outcome is we rarely see what is of need in those we come across. Or in our spouses, for that matter, or in our co-workers, in the life of the community we dwell in, or, more importantly, in the kingdom of God.

The Scriptures are permeated with the activity of God, and in all of His activity there is a focal point at which His work is aimed. The peculiar and amazing aspect of God’s activity is that He has seen fit to operate through other people. Through us. The Christian discipline of service is the way the world discovers the love of God. And God has been working all along for this end.

The Lord says in Genesis 18:18, “Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him.” Jesus came as the perfect Israel to the earth as the one who serves (Lk. 22:27). He calls us to serve (Matt. 22:37-39). At the heart of service, we act from a deep care for the One who is Good and for His kingdom. We love Him because He first loved us. Out of our love for Him, we love others by the spending of our own goods and energy to promote the good of others without any personal, expected return. This is what we call service.

This is the role God asks us to play. To spend our energies “for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4:12-13).

However, until we can see the needs of our neighbors as truly important, we will never really serve others. The times in my life when I ceased desiring to serve others were when I was caught up with myself and my needs. This lack of seeing the needs of others was preceded by a lack in learning who my God is and what His loving-kindness is like through His actions towards me. Likewise, unless we learn to meet with God in our days and commune with Him, we will struggle in giving our time and resources to others.

Unless we learn from God what is of true value and where the good life really is, we will not know how to see others as we ought. For serving is grounded in seeing, as A. A. Calhoun remarks. Prayer must be first before service can pave the way. Our love alone will not be strong enough to bear with the world. This is why the apostle Peter exhorts us that “whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen” (1 Pet. 4:11).
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