Stephen and I were asked to write about our identities as servants for our church. Just wanted to share what we came up with…
Apart from the Lord there is nothing good in us and whatever selfless desires we have are fruits of His spirit and not of our own accord…
Because the Lord came to serve and not to be served, we too seek to be servants; though neither of us would claim to live out this identity well. Where Jesus gave his life as ransom, we have struggled to give of our time or even of the smallest of resources. Being a servant takes humility, sacrifice and intentionality… all of which our flesh seems to be overtly opposed to.
Thankfully, the beautiful truth of the sacrifice that was made, so that the law might be fulfilled when we ourselves could not fulfill it, is what keeps our eyes on the prize and drives us to strain ahead toward selfless pursuit and joyful giving.
When our thoughts are on things above our eyes are open to see the needs of others. When we delight in the Lord our hearts desires become His. When we cry out to seek His face we begin to see our neighbors through His eyes. When we abide in our Savior we understand the depths of our depravity and our hearts become willing to count others as higher than ourselves. To serve like Jesus is to be like Jesus. We are not servants without knowing who Jesus is.
Being a servant is a way of life, not something we seek out to go “do” every once in a while. It’s the branch being so connected to the vine that each day we consider the endeavor He would have us walk in. It’s acknowledging that all good gifts are from above, holding them with open hands, lending and offering freely. And it’s a willingness to set aside earthly pursuits, our own desires and schedules for the sake of others.
In our family, serving others looks like bringing people into our lives and literally into our home. When we know people well we know what their needs are, and when they are a part of our lives it’s natural to be a part of fulfilling those needs. For our friends who know the Lord and for those who do not, the ways that we serve them may look different at times, but all are welcome at our table and we offer our spare bed to either just the same.
Serving others has looked like conversations that lead to action and text messages that have turned into meals. Its looked like giving or lending even when we’ve known our possessions wouldn’t be returned or like emptying the fridge to serve dinner to friends when our grocery budget was depleted. It has looked like people living in our home, listening, praying, giving rides, stopping on the side of the road, late night conversations, laundry, grocery shopping, sharing meals, yard work, babysitting, moving boxes, etc. etc. etc.
It looks like life. From one day to the next we do our best (and sometimes fail) to hold our possessions and agendas loosely. We have a large family and instead of adding “formal service” events to our schedule we live our lives along side others praying for eyes to see the things, needs, and opportunities that the Lord has already laid in our path, as well as… for continued blessing, so that, we might be a blessing to others.