We have a natural tendency to want to be the first in line. Many of us spend our lives trying to climb to the top of the ladder to ensure that we’re living life at the top. However, God’s Word is very clear about the fact that He wants His people to find joy in serving other people. This doesn’t mean that you don’t have ambitions. However, it does mean that you look for opportunities to be a blessing to others. Discover more about the joy of serving today.
John 13:34-35 (NIV)
“A new command I give you; Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Jesus Christ sat the standard for servant leadership. While we know that He was the greatest leader to ever walk the face of the earth, He was also a servant. In fact, in Mark 10:45, Jesus declared that He did not come into the world to be served, but instead, He came so He could serve others. Christ was truly the pinnacle of servant leadership. His comments in Mark make the comments recorded in Saint John’s Gospel even more powerful for us.
In the passage from Mark, Christ spoke about His desire to serve others. Then, in the passage that we just read in John, He said that He wanted us to love others in the same way that He has loved us. Christ’s standard of love was directly tied to service. In fact, His greatest act of love, which was His death on the cross, was also the ultimate act of service. Christ literally gave His life as a way of serving those of us who would never be able to enter into a relationship with God.
We don’t live in a society that teaches service. In fact, our culture teaches us the exact opposite. We’re encouraged to get to the top of the ladder by any means necessary. We’re told that there is nothing more important than being “number one.” Those concepts operate in direct contradiction to what God has told us He wants us to do. God wants His people to serve others.
This doesn’t mean that you don’t take the time to care for yourself. This doesn’t mean that you spend every second of the day pouring yourself out and never taking time to refresh. However, it does mean that you look for the opportunity to serve others through your skills, talents, and resources. Today, discover more about the joy of serving others.
Service Connects us To Christ
John 15:4-5 (TPT)
“So you must remain in life-union with me, for I remain in life-union with you. For as a branch severed from the vine will not bear fruit, so your life will be fruitless unless you live your life intimately joined to mine. I am the sprouting vine and you’re my branches. As you live in union with me as your source, fruitfulness will stream from within you-but when you live separated from me you are powerless.”
This verse doesn’t come out and explicitly talk about serving others, but there are some Scriptural truths that we can take from this verse. Christ spoke of the importance of remaining in life union with Him in the same way that a branch is connected to a vine. In this passage, Christ was comparing our union with Him to the way that a vineyard worked. In order to produce grapes, the branch must be connected to the vine.
In the same way, when we’re connected to Christ, we bear fruit. However, a grapevine does not produce grapes for its own benefit. In fact, the vine and the branches don’t receive any of the benefits of the grapes. Those grapes are produced simply for the use of the people who pick them, eat them, and make things from them.
When we bear fruit, it’s not about us. When you use the things in your life, your abilities, attributes, and special traits to bless others, it strengthens the connection between the vine and the branch. It strengthens your connection with Christ.
The Blessing of Obedience
Mark 12:31 (TPT)
“And the second is this: ‘You must love your neighbor in the same way you love yourself.’ You will never find a greater commandment than these.”
While there is nothing that we can do to make God love us any more than He does in this moment, the Bible is clear about the fact that there are blessings associated with obedience. When we commit our lives to serving others, we unlock those blessings in our own lives.
In the verse that we just read, Christ had been posed with an interesting question. One of the religious leaders of the day came and asked Him which of Moses’ commandments were the most important. A wrong answer would give them the ground to have Christ killed for heresy. In fact, any answer put Him in danger, as claiming that any of the Laws of Moses were more important than the others would be considered blasphemy.
Of course, Jesus knew what they were doing, and He knew the perfect way to answer their question. He opened His answer with the commandment to love God with everything that we have. Loving God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength means that you revolve everything that you do around your love for Him.
However, He said that the command to love others the same way that we love ourselves is just as important as loving God. Loving other people is just as important to God as it is that we love Him! When we love others in the same way that we love ourselves, we look for opportunities to do good for them. You like taking care of yourself and doing things that benefit you. There’s certainly nothing wrong with that. However, it’s important that we take that same determination and apply it to serving others. When we do that, we can unlock the blessings associated with being completely obedient.
Will You Do It?
Matthew 20:16 (TPT)
“Now you can understand what I meant when I said that the first will end up last and the last will end up being first. Everyone is invited, but few are the chosen.”
Christ spoke about the importance of humility often, but that’s largely because He was so eager to practice it. Near the end of His earthly life, Christ once again spoke of the importance of allowing yourself to be last and how doing so would make you first in the Kingdom of God.
Not long after this statement, Christ exemplified this principle. There was no more humiliating death than a crucifixion. Stripped naked, spat upon, slapped, beaten, and battered, Christ was placed on a cross on full display for everyone who was there to see the executions. He was truly last. However, His willingness to lower Himself to that standard forever cemented His position as the first-born of the Father and the Path for our salvation.
Will you commit yourself to stop pursuing self-promotion in the name of serving others? Will you embrace the idea of being so connected to Christ that you bear fruit that primarily benefits the people around you? Will you accept the opportunity to be such a blessing to others that service is the most important part of who you are? If so, you’re on the path to being first in the Kingdom because of your willingness to be last on the earth.
A Closing Prayer:
Heavenly Father, show me areas where I can be an effective servant to other people. Help me to recognize the areas in my life where I am gifted, not so I can benefit from my giftings, but so I can be a blessing to others as someone who bears fruit. Thank You for the promises of blessings in Your Word that speak to the way that You view my commitment to service. Help me to find areas in my life where I can serve and give me the courage to take advantage of those opportunities. In Christ’s name, Amen.