Serving others: what does it mean?
You know you should be serving others regularly, but where do you start? Let’s start by defining what serving others means.
Many of us think of a waiter or a butler when we think of a server. We often forget or overlook that the King of kings served His disciples and many people he met along His journey.
In John chapter 13, Jesus washed His disciples’ feet. Peter told Jesus he would never allow Him to wash his feet. Jesus rebukes Peter saying that if he doesn’t, then Peter will have no part with Him.
Then Jesus explained why he had to wash their feet and gave them a command:
When Jesus had washed their feet and put on His robe, He reclined again and said to them, Do you know what I have done for you? You call Me Teacher and Lord. This is well said, for I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example that you also should do just as I have done for you. - John 13:12-15 (CSB)
You Are Gifted
While we all have been commanded to serve one another, finding where to serve can be a task to say the least. I have tried to serve for years in the various ways I watched my father serve as I was growing up. This was a mistake.
His gifts are vastly different from mine. He is talented as a coach, able to impart motivation and life skills I have not yet mastered.
I am a teacher. I read and observe, finding some of the most obscure facts and figures. I then translate those into information which I send to those I lead.
While I am not unable to inspire and motivate, I am far more adept at providing information and helping others discover their strengths through observations.
Based on the gift each one has received, use it to serve others, as good managers of the varied grace of God. - 1 Peter 4:10 (CSB)
Using Your Gift While Serving Others
Some do well donating time a soup kitchen, while others are great at church administration. There are church members who can organize a clothing drive, and members who keep the church grounds kept.
Finding where you can best serve others usually involves some trial and error. Don’t feel bad if you get started in a ministry that you find doesn’t suit you. Letting the team leader know it isn’t a fit will save you both time and headache.
When you do find where your gift can be maximized, you will find joy and fulfillment. What appears to others to be hard work, you will find it a labor of love. Serving others doesn’t have to be a chore, but it just might be the most rewarding job you ever had.
For you were called to be free, brothers; only don’t use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but serve one another through love. - Galatians 5:13 (CSB)
Seeking God Involves Serving Others
Don’t skip this step of seeking God by not serving others. There is a great benefit your community will receive by you lending a hand.
There is a greater benefit you will receive. When you engage with others, you find God. We are all made in the image of God, so when you learn more about someone else, you learn more about God. This could be either because of or in spite of others.
When you serve others, you might also find other believers you can fellowship with. This of course deepens your search for God.
A Note About COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
Social distancing doesn’t mean social withdrawal
During this pandemic, many people are retreating into their homes, being shut-in at the request of the CDC (Center for Disease Control). While I do recommend following their guidelines, you do not have to completely withdraw from society. Some things you might do to serve others includes:
- ask for a list of church members you could call and check in on
- volunteer to help stream services for other members
- offer to help prepare or deliver communion
- get with your church prayer team and pray for requests on the list
- ask your church leadership for other ways you can help