That’s a relevant question for today’s culture. We live in a fast-paced culture where the expectation is that you fill-up your schedule with all kinds of activities for you and your kids. The problem is, the schedule is often filled up with activities in which we are served by others rather than serving others. Think about the things we do for our kids. We sign them up for sports, tutoring, instrument lessons, gymnastics, etc. And we sign ourselves up for seminars, attend gatherings with friends, participate in Bible studies. And as good as these things are, did you notice that every one of them is about being served? We may stick in service time, but it always gets whatever is leftover, if there is anything leftover. That’s a far cry from the calling Jesus gives.
“You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 43 But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mk 10:42-45)
We don’t think of ourselves as “lording over” others because we picture someone ordering everyone around him to do his bidding. But are not the coaches, the piano teachers, the tutors, the Bible study leaders, etc people that we “order around” by hiring their services?
Look, I’m not trying to say that doing these things is bad. I just want us to put them in perspective. When they get the lion share of our time and energy then we really haven’t adopted Jesus way of life. What if you identified how you can serve first, and then built your schedule around that? Serving others would become a priority.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that serving others is draining. And there is certainly a sense in which it is. But there are times when serving others is incredibly rewarding. Eventually you will get to see the fruit of your service and it is a sweet tasting fruit! Once when Jesus was tired and hungry during their travels, the disciples went ahead of him into town to buy food. The returned to find him filled and refreshed. They were puzzled. The conversation went like this:
the disciples were urging him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” 32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” 33 So the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?” 34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work…” (Jn 4:31-34)
There is a mystery about this, to be sure. But it is easily confirmed and you can probably think of your own examples that prove it to be true.
So let me challenge you: Where are you serving in your church? Where are you serving in your community? Does your schedule and your checkbook reflect a “serve or be served” priority?
Serving with you in the mission of Christ,