The word “serving” is totally out of time, especially in our society today. Everybody is looking for their own benefit. Everything is about me, myself and I. How can I get further? How can I present myself? Society revolves all around self-realization. In everything we do we look for what comes out for us.
Bible is completely contrary in its attitude towards serving. Jesus instructed his disciples: “The greatest among you shall be your servant.” -Mark 9:35- Jesus calls us, yes, prompts us to serve. And by serving we can make a difference in this world. Since serving isn’t normal for our society and since everybody revolves around themselves, people will notice when we serve. This is how Jesus can shine as a bright light through us into the darkness of this world.
But what does it mean to serve?
Jesus lived what he said so he is the best example when we talk about serving. In fact, serving is what He came for:
“Cause 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-
In order to develop a serving heart, we need to look on our basis for serving as well as on our attitude. What was the basis of Jesus’ serving? He served in the awareness of who he is in the Father. Knowing that we are secure and confident in God is necessary to humbly serve others without feeling empty, ignored or disappointed.
A statement from a helper in a refugee camp made clear to me what it means to serve:
“We do everything from scrubbing toilets to digging holes to housing people to picking up trash to serving food to setting up tents. We work hard. We are here to serve. The need is great, and our God is the One who motivates us and gives us the strength to continue.”
This shows that a servant is willing to help, wherever help is needed, do whatever needs to be done, a person of acts and not of words, good in playing the background without needing the applause of people. A serving heart is humble and willing to sacrifice. It’s about putting other people’s needs above one’s own needs. Serving might be uncomfortable. It might require denying our own wishes, needs and desires and putting our own wants behind the needs of others.
A servant walks through the world with open eyes and notices where help is needed, where hearts are broken, where hands are empty, where love is lacking. They see the needs around them. A servant’s motivation is not getting acknowledgement, attention and appreciation from others but to love Jesus and let Him love through him or her.
Very important is that we do not try to serve out of our own strength. We can only be good servants if we live out of God’s strength. We can only serve when we let God’s power, joy, energy and love flow through us.
For me the greatest servants are mothers taking care of their family. You cannot measure the price they pay and sacrifice they bring to serve. This is a great lesson for us serving in God’s kingdom. Mums are the best examples because they are giving without expecting. They are cooking lunch, washing the dishes, cleaning the house, doing the laundry, taking the kids to school without getting anything in return. But they do it for years because their motivation is nothing else but love. One of my favorite bible verses illustrates that:
“Whatever we do, we do because Christ’s love compels us.” -2. Corinthians 5:14-
His love is our motivation and strength. His love puts us into action. And his love keeps us going. Because it is his love living through us.
So, if you want to be a servant, start at home. Start in your family. Cook meal for them. Do the dishes. Clean the table. Help your neighbor in the garden. Talk to the old lady you meet in the store. By using these small opportunities, we have in our daily life to help or to bless people we can develop a serving heart. There’s no better opportunity and training field of serving than right where we already are now.