Serving - Week of March 22nd

By Judy Nichols

March 22, 2015

My first job was as a page at the local public library. I had two duties: to put returned books back on the shelves and, if that was done, to read the Dewey decimal numbers on a section of books to make sure they were in the right order. As an introvert, that kind of job suited me just fine. I was happy to be making my ninety-five cents an hour and to have a job to put on my résumé for the future.

When I was a very young believer, one of the first Scriptures God spoke to me about was 1 Peter 4:11. "Whoever speaks, let him speak, as it were, the utterances of God; whoever serves, let him do so as by the strength which God supplies." He let me know that the "whoever serves" part applied to me. He was calling me to be a servant.

In some ways, being a servant is easy. It’s like the entry level job. You’re told what to do and generally given the resources to do it with. In other ways, being a servant is difficult. Sometimes the work is hard or time consuming or apparently insignificant. In our flesh most of us want to be in the spotlight or at least be recognized for our contributions. Being a servant doesn’t fit that scenario very well.

But being a servant is our primary calling from God. We are His servants. We call Him "Lord," the One who has Authority over our lives. He is the One who tells us what to do and supplies all we need to do it. We call ourselves followers of Jesus. In the children’s game, follow the leader, the players do what the leader does.

Jesus said a number of things about why he came. He told the Samaritan woman at the well that He could give her water that would make her never thirst again (John 4:14). He told the Jews He was the bread of life (John 6:35). He multiplied food and fed the multitudes who listened to Him. He said it was the faithful servant whom he found giving His other servants their rations at the proper time who would be rewarded (Luke 12:42). Certainly ministering to people’s physical needs is part of our call as servants.

He also said He came to reveal the Father (Matt. 11:27). As we show mercy, kindness, patience, and goodness in our daily lives, we, too reveal the Father’s character. Jesus said He came to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10). Serving those who are far from the Savior may seem a thankless task, but seeing love done for Jesus’ sake is a powerful testimony to even the most hardened. Jesus said he came to call sinners to repentance (Luke 5:32). We do no one any service by remaining silent about sin and its devastating effects. Love demands that we – gently, lest we also be tempted (Gal. 6:1) – point out the error and restore the transgressor.

Jesus made it clear that the way up is down. "If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all" (Mark 9:35). And He pointed to Himself as the example. "The one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant. For who is greater, the one who reclines at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines? But I am among you as the one who serves" (Luke 22:26-27). He said this after washing His disciples’ feet, the job that was usually reserved for the lowest of household servants, at the last supper.

This Lenten season, may we heed the admonition of Paul in Galatians 5:13-14. "Through love serve one another. For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’" And again in Ephesians 6:7-8, "With good will render service, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord." We may never be in the spotlight or have our fifteen minutes of fame, but if we faithfully serve whomever God brings our way, we will not lose our reward. "It is the Lord Christ whom [we] serve" (Col. 3:24).

© Judy Nichols 2015

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