So what is the difference between serving somebody and being a servant? I believe that the answer is that serving somebody is a one-time-deal, while being a servant is a mindset and a lifestyle. We can learn what being a servant looks like from the life of Jesus Christ. In Matthew 20:25-28 Jesus is talking to his disciples. This is what it says:
"But Jesus called them together and said, 'You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.'"
Jesus explained the we are all called to live lives that are dedicated to serving others- we are called to be servants. Jesus was a servant- he said that he came to this earth to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many. This being said, living as a servant combines both serving others and humbling oneself to give up things for the wellbeing of others.
Let's break it down and focus in on the two key aspects to living life as a servant: serving others and being humble. Starting off, the definition of to serve is to perform duties or services for (another person or organization). So basically, serving others means doing things for other people or helping them out. There are so many great organizations in our communities and around the world today that are doing so many great things for animals, the environment, the government, orphaned children, the poor, the sick, and so many more marginalized people and things. Because of all of the options that keep coming up, it is getting harder and harder to decide how and who to serve. In this whirlwind of places and things and people in need, the Bible very clearly tells us who to serve and how to do it. Take a look at these verses:
"Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow." Isaiah 1:17
"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers." Galatians 6:9-10
"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." James 1:27
In each of these verses and many other throughout the Bible, a common theme comes up about who to serve. Through all three of these verses, it talks about serving two main groups of people: the defenseless and other believers. This being said, we should serve people who don't have a voice to advocate for themselves as well as other Christians in need.
Next, let's talk about how to serve other people. So often in our culture, it seems like whenever people do something good for someone else, volunteer somewhere, give money to charity, etc. they put it all over social media and talk about it to everyone they meet, and in return they receive praise and recognition that makes them feel good about themselves. They may be serving people, but lack the element of humility- they lack a servant's heart. Looking at the Bible, however, it shows a different model for Christians to follow when serving people.
"Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death- even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that every knee would bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father." Philippians 2:1-11
"Be careful not to practice your righteousness infant of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven." Matthew 6:1
"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brother and sisters." 1 John 3:16
The key thing that keeps repeating in these verses is humility. The definition of humble is having or showing a modest or low estimate of one's own importance. So, in order for us to be Christlike servants, serving people must be paired with being humble. This looks like an outpouring of love on a relational level towards other people in need, not mentioning how you might be more fortunate than them, and not "sideways bragging" about it to other people.
"Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." Matthew 6:4
"What good is it, my dear brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, 'Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,' but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, 'You have faith; I have deeds.' Show me your faith without deeds and I will show you my faith by my deeds." James 2:14-18
"As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead." James 2:26
"If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen." 1 Peter 4:11
The Bible calls us as Christians to serve other people to redistribute the love we have received from Jesus to others who need encouragement. Serving is also a way to continue growing the Kingdom of God because His love is truly, tangibly life changing.
With this I encourage you to find a place in the community where you can get involved serving people humbly on a relational level, and I assure you- it will be hard at times, but the results it can produce will be worth it all. And remember: serving people + humble love = a servant's heart.
For awhile now I've been feeling really weighed down. With everything that has been going on with our Safe Families twins I am really nervous and anxious. I know that the chances are high that they are not being taken care of well, the people they live with are constantly high and possibly violent, it is never certain when food will come for them, and child protection has been getting involved in their situation. Through watching and witnessing all of this, my faith in God has not been as strong as it has been in the past. I have faith and trust in the Lord in my mind, but not in my heart.
Then, last night, I was really wanting to hear from God, and I don't think I ever actually prayed it but I thought about how for a while I prayed really hard to see visions from God through dreams (I never saw anything) and how it would be nice to hear something that night. Then, I fell asleep. Right before my alarm went off for school at 5:45, I had a dream. In this dream I was at a water park and I was going down the steep, straight up and down water slide, and somehow I didn't wait until the lifeguard said I could go down- so I got a running start and jumped down the slide. Instead of rushing down it, I was floating down the open air on the side of the slide on my mat, but to all of the other people at the water park who were watching me, it looked like I was falling (probably) to my death. However to me, the fall down went in slow motion and it was calm and smooth. I did some slow flips through the air, and I felt like a feather rocking back and forth- down... down... down... As I neared the ground, my body evened out and I was laying flat, facing the sky. I landed gently on my back on top of my mat on the grass, it felt like someone had gingerly layed me down and slid their arms out from under me- like a sleeping baby being laid in its crib. The lifeguard ran over to me to see if I was alive and okay. I was 100% unharmed. They were all shocked that I was okay and they still called an ambulance. When the lifeguard realized I was fine, he started yelling at me for scaring everyone and for not following the directions of the water park (I didn't wait until a lifeguard said it was okay to go down the slide). Tears slowly trickled down my face. Then I woke up. And when I woke up, this phrase jumped into my head- "on wings like angels". Yes, yes, I know that there is a phrase 'on wings like eagles', but that is not the phrase I heard- it was "on wings like angels". I was SO comforted by this because I knew that in my dream, angels were carrying me down from the slide. They were protecting me and keeping me safe in the command of the Lord. And now, I have PEACE. Peace in the assurance that the Lord my God is and all powerful warrior fighting for the love of His children. Just like He protected me in the dream, He is looking out for and fighting for and taking care of and loving the twins, no matter what the people around them are or are not doing. And now my spirit is lifted, my burdens taken. I have confidence in the name of Jesus Christ. God is good, God is love, God will speak to me, and God will fight for His children.
So last night I had the opportunity to go to House Group. For those of you that don't know what House Group is, it is basically a group of high schoolers who get together to learn about and worship Jesus. Last night was the only the second time I've gone, and it was the most spiritually divine moment I have ever experienced.
Let's start things off with a simple question- what do you want to be when you grow up? Many of us were frequently asked this when we were a little kid. Maybe your answer was "a doctor, a rockstar, a baseball player, a princess." Regardless what your reply may have been at the time, the Lord has always had a plan for your life since before you were even born. In Psalm 139:16 (NLT) it says "You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had past." What this verse is saying is that the Lord has perfectly planned out your entire life! He knew you were going to read this post before you even found out about it- and He knows what your are going to eat for dinner next Tuesday. Now, if you take a look at your own life, it is going to be far from perfect. This is because of both sin and a lack of complete surrender to the Lord.
This being said, God does has a perfect plan for your life- if only you commit your every breath to Him. In Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLT) it says "Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do and he will show you which path to take." This means that if you give your whole heart to Jesus and chase after Him with your entire being, He is going to show you His plans for your life. He is going to work all things together for your good when you surrender your life to Him.
The plan God has for you is going to be different from the plan He has for all other people. If you don't already know every tiny piece of God's plan for you (nobody knows everything except for the Creator ;)), I would definitely encourage you to spend time talking to God about what He knows is right for your life, diving into His Word (the Bible), and meeting with other believers. Well- that's all I've got for now!
I say these things in Jesus's name.