In our world, the more you have, the more you’re served. I’ve been to people’s houses where they have a group who serves them and their guests. You can be sitting in the living room and they will bring you drinks and snacks. It feels pretty good to be honest. You can sit there and think, “This is the life!” However, that attitude is opposite of what we are to have. We are called to humble ourselves before God and others. We’re to have the attitude Jesus had which is to serve rather than to be served. The greatest in God’s Kingdom are the ones who make it a priority to serve their fellow man.
Here are some Bible verses on serving others.
1. Be free from pride-filled opinions, for they will only harm your cherished unity. Don’t allow self-promotion to hide in your hearts, but in authentic humility put others first and view others as more important than yourselves.
Philippians 2:3 TPT
2. Take advantage of every opportunity to be a blessing to others, especially to our brothers and sisters in the family of faith!”
Galatians 6:10 TPT
3. For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
Galatians 5:13 ESV
4. God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.
1 Peter 4:10 NLT
5. But this is not your calling. You will lead by a different model. The greatest one among you will live as one called to serve others without honor. The greatest honor and authority is reserved for the one who has a servant heart.
Several years ago, our area was hit by Hurricane Ike. Our electricity was out for over two weeks. Because of the work I do, I had to go to work anyway to help customers. A couple of days after the storm hit, the CEO of this Fortune 15 company flew down here. Each day, he put aside his tie, put on our uniform, and got behind a computer to help customers at one of our stores. When regular customers didn’t recognize him, they’d ask who he was. When he told them, no one believed him. He had to pull out his business card to prove it. Even then, there were skeptics.
To me, that’s a lot like what Jesus did. When the world was dark and powerless, Jesus left Heaven to come to earth to help us. He put aside His Heavenly body to take on the form of a man. He walked among us to help us. Many did not recognize Him nor believe He was who He said He was. When He proved it by doing things only God could do, they were still skeptical. Even though there were doubters, He continued to do the work that He was sent to do
Philippians 2:5-8 tells us exactly that, “You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross” (NLT). What it says first is very important. We should have that same attitude.
We should never be above doing any work in the Kingdom. There is no position high enough or level of spiritualness that you can attain where you don’t have to get down in the trenches and serve like everyone else. Jesus was still exhibiting the qualities of a servant the night before He completed His mission on earth. He made it clear He was the Messiah, the Son of God, and yet He served others. John 13:4 says, “So He got up from the supper table, set aside His robe, and put on an apron” (MSG). He took off the robe that signified His greatness and position, to put on what the lowest ranking person wears in order to serve.
Christianity is not about becoming a great and powerful leader. It’s about becoming an humble servant. It’s following the example of the One who gave up all authority in Heaven and earth to wash the feet of others. It’s about meeting people where they are so they can see what God’s love is like. If the CEO of Heaven took off His robe to put on an apron and serve, we should put aside our pride and follow His example of serving others. Wearing the apron was an outward example of the position of His heart. If you feel you’re above putting on the apron of humility, pray that God would give you the same attitude Christ Jesus had.
Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.
A habit that I’ve noticed in some of the most effective Christians is the habit of service. Most people who have this habit are not noticeable until they are gone. They give of their time and energy, but prefer to stay behind the scenes. They are rarely recognized because they don’t require public praise. They do what they do because it’s what God has called them to. They recognize that for big things to happen, there’s a lot of little things that need to be done behind the scenes.
Jesus told us that the ones who do these little things with an humble spirit are the greatest in His kingdom. In Matthew 23:11-12 Jesus said, “Do you want to stand out? Then step down. Be a servant. If you puff yourself up, you’ll get the wind knocked out of you. But if you’re content to simply be yourself, your life will count for plenty” (MSG). Jesus modeled what it was like to be a servant to others. He spent His life giving instead of taking. He did things to recognize God, not to be recognized. When you live a life of service in a selfish world, you stand out.
Look at the life of Mother Theresa. She spent it serving people who had no ability to pay her back or offer her any recognition. She once said, “In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.” I believe that’s the key to the habit of service. Understanding it’s not about doing big things. It’s about the little things that few see. It’s about doing something for someone without posting it on social media. It’s done out of a heart of love for someone in need.
I believe if all Christians would take the time to develop this one habit, we could change the world. If we did things for His recognition instead of our own, we’d have a lot more converts. A life of service yields great results in the kingdom. It’s marked by looking out for the needs of others more than our own. Take time today to look for someone you can serve in some small capacity. Make a difference in their life today and you’ll understand why it’s more blessed to give than to receive.
When someone on stage asks for a volunteer, are you quick to raise your hand? Not me. Maybe because I ask for volunteers in my job, and it usually involves that person having to do a role play in front of a room full of people. In several cases, the volunteer is used as a deficit learning exercise to show that they are lacking the skill I’m about to train. Yet, when I ask for a volunteer, people usually raise their hands.
Of course, if no one raises their hand, I say, “If I don’t have any volunteers, someone is going to get volun-told!” That’ll usually get at least someone, but they’re pretty skeptical. For me, I don’t like to volunteer unless I know what I’m volunteering for. If I know, I don’t mind raising my hand usually. I just like to know what I’m getting into. But if someone is just looking for a volunteer, and there’s no reason given, I’m not your guy.
In Isaiah 6, he describes being in Heaven and realizing how small and sinful he is. After an angel touches his lips with coal to purify him, God starts talking to the assembly of heavenly beings. In verse 8 he hears the Lord asking, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?” Then he said, “Here I am. Send me” (NLT). Can you imagine it? God was looking across Heaven for a volunteer, and Isaiah speaks up.
I believe God is still looking for volunteers. Sometimes, like Isaiah, it’s to carry His message. Other times it may be just to encourage someone. Sometimes it’s to buy a meal for someone. Even if you don’t know what you’re volunteering for, I believe we should all be willing to pray, “Lord, I know you need volunteers today to make yourself known. I want you to know I am here and available. Pick me.”
I don’t know about you, but I can’t stand busy work. I hate being given a task just for the sake of having something to do. I see it as a waste of time rather than a time filler. Nothing truly productive comes from it. I’d rather save my energy, brain power and time doing nothing rather than doing meaningless tasks. Whether it’s at work, home or wherever, we’ve all been given busy work since we were kids.
Sometimes doing things for God feels like busy work. I can’t see the purpose behind doing what He’s asked, so it feels like busy work. Whether it’s busy work or not, I obey because it’s God who is asking. Many times it’s simply to go somewhere, pick someone up, say something to someone, serve at an event or something like it. When I don’t get to see the impact or reason, it can feel like busy work to me.
I was discussing this with one of my pastor friends recently. Then I recalled a couple of events that really I could barely remember doing, but the people I helped acted as if I had saved their life. The “busy work” on my part had a significant meaning to the person God was directing it toward. It was a great reminder that often what we do for God may feel like busy work at times to us, but to others, it’s life changing stuff.
Paul reminds us in I Corinthians 15:58, “Keep busy always in your work for the Lord, since you know that nothing you do in the Lord’s service is ever useless” (GNT). If you’re feeling like God has given you a lot of busy work lately, take heart. Nothing you do for Him is useless. It’s not a waste of your time, talents or resources. Often you’re changing lives without even knowing it. God doesn’t give out busy work to keep us occupied. He gives us work that we’re to stay busy at because eternity is at stake.
Have you ever had a craving, drove across town to get to the restaurant, walk in, and have them tell you the kitchen us closed? I hate it when that happens. It’s worse if you’ve pulled into the parking lot, are walking up to the door, and they flip the sign to “closed” while looking at you. You just want one thing. It won’t take long, but they tell you to come back tomorrow. How does that make you feel? Angry? Disappointed? Frustrated? Sad? Lots of emotions come to mind.
The problem is, that person had the ability to satisfy your craving, but not the will. They could have gone above and beyond for a good customer like yourself, and just let you run in and get it. But they didn’t. They withheld it from you and you have to wait. When that happens, I almost want to do a personal boycott because I let my emotions get the better of me. But at the be of the day, it was just a food item I wanted. It wasn’t life or death. It won’t make or break me if I don’t get it.
Imagine someone who needs something that really will make or break them. Imagine that they need this thing to keep afloat, and you have what they need. Imagine you told them to come back tomorrow because you were busy. This isn’t a craving they’re trying to get a fix for. This is a real life, make or break situation, and you were as aloof to them as that person who looked at you and flipped the sign to close. Remember how you were feeling when they did that for a craving? Multiply that feeling for that person.
God puts people in our path each day who desperately need our help, but we are too busy to see them or too nonchalant to care. We have the opportunity daily to be God’s hands, but we rarely open them. Proverbs 3:27-28 says, “Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them. If you can help your neighbor now, don’t say, ‘Come back tomorrow, and then I’ll help you’” (NLT). God’s desire is that we keep our sign turned to “open” when it comes to helping others.
One of the great mysteries that guys wonder about is why do we get fine China when we never use it. It sits in a cabinet for years never being used. It looks good. It’s expensive. It’s on display for all to see. When are we ever going to use it? On special occasions is what we’re told. Those rarely come about, so those plates just sit there. They’re waiting to be used. They’re perfectly capable of being used, but they’re on display. They rarely reach their potential.
What we end up using are our daily plates. They cost a lot less, but get used often. They’re pulled out of a cabinet that you can’t see through, they’re used for every meal, washed and hidden again. These plates earn their keep and are always reaching their potential. Constantly being used for every day use. That’s the way I want to be used by God.
Some people are like fine China. They look good, they’re on display for all the world to see, but they are rarely used by God. I think it’s mainly because they think they’re fragile and stay in a place locked up and away from where they can reach their potential. Being used by God is messy business. You get dirty. You need to be washed often. A lot of us don’t like that so we stay away from situations where we can be used all the time.
I’m not like that. I don’t mind being hidden and out of sight as long as God can use me daily. I realize that it means I’ll need to be washed by the Word often. It also means that Im in that place of full potential where God sees fit to use me for His every day purposes. It may not be glamorous and it may not get much attention from outside of those that are being helped, but I’m being used for what I was made for.
I guess it boils down to what we’re content with. Are we content by being on display and never used for our purpose or are we content when we’re being used by God? If it’s the latter, are we placing ourselves where He can best use us? Are we willing to get dirty doing His work? Do we mind that it’s not glamorous or a special occasion? If not, then chances are we will be used by Him. It just won’t garner a lot of praise from others. You’re doing what you were created to do. Serve.
Each one of us has a purpose. We have a destiny to fulfill. There are things in this world that God needs accomplished and only you can do it. Your experiences and the things you’ve gone through were allowed and designed by God to prepare you for your purpose. Instead of looking at those times in your life as hindrances to your purpose, embrace them as preparation for your purpose. Be who God made you to be and put yourself on the table to be used by God for your every day potential.
Have you ever been in the situation where someone asked for a volunteer and no one offered? Or have you ever seen someone in need and said, “Someone should help them”? It happens all the time. When that happens at work and someone gets chosen for the job, we say, “You just got volun-told!” When someone gets volun-told, they usually aren’t happy about it and rarely put their best effort forward.
Have you ever been volun-told by God? I have a few times. I start to pray for someone and God says, “You go help.” I start looking for excuses why I can’t help. I don’t know if it’s humorous to God or if it frustrates Him. I’m willing to pray for someone, but I’m not ready to be the answer to that prayer. Why? It’s the same reason any of don’t want to. It means we have to get involved.
What we don’t think about is that the moment we pray for someone else, we get involved. We are asking God to move on their behalf and are putting ourself in service. At work we also say that you can’t point out a problem unless you come up with a solution. It doesn’t have to be the right solution, but it needs to show that you are looking for a way to make it better. I don’t know that God needs our solutions to problems, but He does need us to be a part of the solution.
We are not here just to take and keep the good things God gives to us. We are to take those things and reinvest them. What God gives us is not our own. We are merely stewards of it. Whatever God has given you, it is to be used to be the solution for someone else, not just for your benefit. Our faith requires action. Yes, prayer is action. Yes, God can do the miraculous and provide supernaturally. Why would I want Him to do that and rob myself of the blessing of being used by Him to provide?
God doesn’t need you or I to do things in this world. He chooses to offer us opportunities to volunteer though. Are we too busy to be Jesus to someone today? Are we so caught up doing things for ourselves that we fail to do things for someone else? Jesus said when we do things for others, we’re doing it to Him, even if it is a cup of water. We get blinded into thinking that volunteering means long term commitment. Sometimes it is, but other times it’s just handing a cup of water to someone.
James 2:16 asks what good is it if you tell someone to stay warm and eat well and then don’t give that person any food or clothes. In essence that is what we are doing when we are willing to pray for someone without being willing to be that answer to prayer. Who is it in your path that needs you to be their answer? What can you do to give a “cup of water” to someone today? Are you waiting to be volun-told or will you receive the blessing by saying “Here am I, send me” like Isaiah?
Several years ago, a guy I worked with would get on the store intercom each morning before we opened. He would give a motivational speech with some great quotes and remind us about why we work. He would always close his speeches the same way. You could hear him take a breath and then slowly say, “Make…. today…. count.” He signed off on all of his emails with it too.
All of these years later, I don’t remember each speech he gave, but I still remember those words: make today count. I believe we are to live purposeful lives. We are to be proactive not reactive. Jesus said, “Ask and it shall be given. Seek and you shall find. Knock and it shall be opened.” These are all proactive steps that require you to act. The Bible is full of things we are to be proactive at.
A proactive person sees a need and helps. They look for ways to get involved. They don’t just want to do something for God, they do it. A reactive person responds to things that happen. They wait until there is no other choice but to act. It s not done out of willfulness, but out of obligation. As a manager, I can tell you that those who do things willfully are more successful and do better work than those who do things out of obligation.
It’s simple really. Proactive, willing people put their hearts into whatever they do. Ecclesiastes 9:10 says what my coworker used to say, “Each day is God’s gift. It’s all you get in exchange for the hard work of staying alive. Make the most of each one! (MSG)” I don’t know if he knew if what he was saying came from the Bible or not, but there it is. We are commanded to make the most out of each day. They are gifts from God in which we are to be proactive and do something for others.
Colossians 3:23 in the Message also says, “Don’t just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from your heart for your real master, for God.” God knows that if you work from your heart, what you do will cause others to be motivated to do better. Our job is not simply to do things on our own, it’s to get others motivated to do things better too. When each of us in the body of Christ start working with all of our potential and are living a life of purpose, the Kingdom of God will grow.
I know many people are going back to work today after having been off for the holidays. Don’t go back with a sour attitude. That is infectious too. That is not what you want others to catch or to think about you as a Christian. Choose to go to work with a great attitude. Choose to find someone in need today and be the hands and feet of Jesus to them. Choose to make today count.