September 30, 2018
When you think of the term “service” what do you see? Does the picture of menial, low status and laborious activity come to mind? For many, service is something we have to or should do, but it is not necessarily what we want to do. Because it seems to banish us to the unimportant and mundane we tend to think that our participation in such activities lowers our status.
Ironically, some of the great thinkers and theologians have a different perspective. Richard Foster writes, “Service banishes us to the mundane, the ordinary, the trivial. It empowers us to say ‘no’ to the world’s games of promotion and authority. It abolishes our need/desire for a ‘pecking order.’” Jesus himself taught his disciples that, “The greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves, just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
The irony of these quotes is that they seem to be telling us that there is great benefit and even unsolicited status and reward that go along with an act of selfless service. That seems counterintuitive to what the world teaches but directly in line with what our faith teaches. The question is, “Which do you choose to believe?” Maybe the can be found by taking a step of faith and looking for the opportunities to serve at home, at work, and even in your neighborhood. You might find that it moves from something you should do to something you want and need to do.
Questions for discussion:
· What do you think was the main point of Matt’s message?
· What does the term “service” mean to you?
· How does Jesus define “service” in Matthew 20:20-28?
· What are things you have learned in your service to others? How would you explain to someone else why “serving” is an important part of our spiritual journey?
Do something about it:
(1) Take a closer look at the everyday things you encounter and ask God to point our opportunities to serve. (2) Expanding your idea of service to include: guarding the reputation of others (cut back on gossip), put pride aside and allow someone to serve you, actively seek to show common courtesy and hospitality, take time to truly listen to others, and when given the opportunity to help directly, consider how you can help bear someone else’s burdens.
Matthew 20:20-28; Luke 6:38; John 13:5-20; Romans 12:1,2; 9-13; 1 Peter 4:7-11