When Christ was on Earth, He made it clear that He was here to serve (See Mark 10:42-45). If He is to be our great example, should service not also be our purpose here on this planet?
Like a second language
I recently returned from a two-year stay in the beautiful country of Austria. I figured it would be a good idea to go and learn German there—a language I've always wanted to learn. After arriving, and as time went by, I found that the best way to learn German was to fully immerse myself in the language by speaking with others around me, reading and writing for practice. At first it was difficult. There's only so much you can express in the beginning, but as time went on, it became much easier. I even started thinking in German. When it was time to go home and resume speaking and thinking in English, it was difficult.
That's how it should be with us and service. We cannot forget that we were placed here on this earth to serve, to be Christ's hands and feet. To love Him is to love others, and to love others is to serve them.
What does it mean to serve? Does it simply mean going to the soup kitchen every week, singing at nursing homes or going on annual mission trips? Well, sure, but it goes a lot deeper than that. Service is one way in which God reaches others through us. Service could be as simple as telling someone that Jesus loves them.
As stewards, we are the managers of what Christ has given us, and our ability to serve others is part of that gift. To serve should be such a natural part of us, that we don't even have to think about it. Being fully immersed and engaged in acts of service is the best way for that to happen. We serve others not just physically, but spiritually and mentally as well.
“Christ gave no stinted service,” writes Adventist Church co-founder Ellen White, “He did not measure His work by hours. His time, His heart, His soul and strength, were given to labor for the benefit of humanity. Through weary days He toiled, and through long nights He bent in prayer for grace and endurance that He might do a larger work. With strong crying and tears He sent His petitions to heaven, that His human nature might be strengthened, that He might be braced to meet the wily foe in all his deceptive workings, and fortified to fulfill His missions of uplifting humanity. To His workers He says, “I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done.” John13:15.” (Ministry of Healing, p.500)
It seems rather difficult at times, this idea of serving others, especially when we're not sure how, but it's important to remember the very root of it all. Christ bids us “serve,” and when Christ is at the center of our lives and all we do, there is nothing sweeter than heeding His words. Only out of love for our Savior can we truly serve others as He would want us to. And only then will we hear His loving words, "Well done, good and faithful servant! (Matt. 25:13).
This article originally appeared in Dynamic Steward magazine, 2012.