In contrast to the self-centered masses of society who think only about themselves, the Christ wants His followers to be humble servants. Instead of dwelling only on our own desires and needs, He wants us to be concerned about others, too. Christians are instructed,
“Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4).
As we continue to highlight the responsibilities which God’s children have to one another, it is clear that He wants each of us to have the heart of a servant. While we often focus on our service to the Lord (Hebrews 12:28), as we should, we must recognize that He also wants us to serve one another. How did we reach such a conclusion?
In Paul’s letter to the churches of Galatia, the Holy Spirit guided him to say,
“For you brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13).
The service is supposed to be two-directional: it is not one Christian always doing all the serving and a second one always being served. No, it is God’s will that we serve one another, meaning you serve me and I serve you.
Did you notice what the Bible says should be the motivation and character of our service to others? We are to serve “through love” (Galatians 5:13). That is not forced service, nor is it a service that we consider to be burdensome. It is not service which is extended with the selfish thought of “What can I get out of this?” Serving one another “through love” means we do it without expecting anything in return. It means we serve with another person’s best interest at heart. And, it means we serve one another without partiality, having no concern about the other person’s race, financial status, outward appearance, or level of spiritual maturity.
First-century followers of Jesus also were instructed,
“As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God . . . If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies . . .” (1 Peter 4:10,11).
To “minister” means to serve. In this setting, Peter may have been referring to the use of miraculous gifts, but the principles would apply in our day when miraculous powers no longer are being granted to God’s children. If we have the ability to serve, coupled with the opportunity to do so, we need to use what God has placed in our hands for His glory and the benefit of our fellow man. Again, one with a servant’s heart cares about what is best for others.
When Jesus’ twelve apostles squabbled among themselves about which of them would be the greatest, He sat down and made this astounding statement: “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all” (Mark 9:35). Our Lord wants us to be prepared to be a servant of all. In His kingdom, greatness is shown by humble service.
The Christ gave us the ultimate example of service, saying, “For even the Son of man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). Jesus was . . . always humble . . . always thinking of others . . . always serving others. I need to learn from Him!
Today I may need your assistance/service. Tomorrow our roles could be reversed. Be assured that God sees our labor of love and does not forget when we serve one another (Hebrews 6:10). Some of those who served others in the first century were Martha (John 12:2), Peter’s mother-in-law (Mark 1:30,31), a group of women who provided for Jesus and the apostles (Luke 8:3), and the brethren of the churches of Macedonia (2 Corinthians 8:1-4).
Serving others will require time. It may require you to do extra traveling. It may cost you some money. It may mean you will have to give up some other things. Serving others may cause you to be exhausted physically and mentally. Whatever you and I must “put out” to serve one another, it will be worth it. In many cases, the one who does the serving is blessed more than the one who is served. Yes, it is a blessing to our lives to be able to serve others.
How can Christians serve one another? Help an aging saint with transportation or do their shopping for them. Help a young sister who is struggling with her math studies. Help an older brother learn to use his computer or new phone. Free of charge, help a fellow Christian change the oil in their vehicle. Help a widow repair damages to her property. Show special interest in a new convert who struggles to connect socially. Parents, when you serve others, take your kids along so they can learn how to serve with love and joy.
Jesus no longer is living on the earth. But, one aspect of serving Him is to serve His brethren, who are our brethren. Doing so can be the difference between eternal life and eternal punishment (Matthew 25:34-46). Let us show the world that part of true Christianity is for Christians to serve one another!
Adapted from Roger D. Campbell