Saturday, April 2, 2011

Character: A Spirit of Service

There are multiple admonitions in scripture to encourage us to serve and remind us of the blessings of serving.  The heart of service, though, is strikingly conveyed with Christ's own words:

"...Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you."

The fact that Christ said 'peace be with you' twice before sending His disciples out makes great sense to me.  When we truly contemplate Christ's own sending, the enthusiasm for serving is quite likely to be drowned with our fear.  God sent Jesus from the very glories of heaven to a cavern-stable...from the perfect Father God to an adolescent mother...from a kingdom with eternal perspective to an earthly world with perversions of power.  Simply serving outside of my comfort zone or failing to realize the results I intended in a service project can waylay me.  Christ's spirit of service was undaunted by any of the challenges He faced. 

Immediately after informing the disciples they were being sent out, Christ said 'Receive the Holy Spirit,'--The unconquerable Spirit of Service evidenced by Christ requires much more than human initiative.  Nothing done in our power will produce eternal results.  Our character must be transformed by the very touch of God before we can serve His purposes.  Great sacrifice was included in Christ's sending and service; He is our example and true service will cost us as well.  Christ's service was to give His very life as a ransom for many.  Though He was born to die, we are called to be 'living sacrifices.'  Our service involves placing God's purposes above our pleasures; we must sacrifice 'self' for service. 

Like Jesus, we are to be an example for others--to call others to Christ by the joy we have in serving.  Joy and self-sacrifice seem to be mutually exclusive but they are so compatible when we serve in the power of the Holy Spirit.  Scripture tells us that for the joy set before Him, Christ endured the cross; obviously the cross was not the joy.  The beautiful purposes of God rejoiced His heart--and will rejoice ours as well when we seek to know them.  That is the joy which will flow out of our service; God loves cheerful givers.  We must never be sour saints but have our spirits sweetened by Him. 

Family Chat:

Discuss what might it be like to move from a mansion to a homeless shelter?

What kind of luxuries do we enjoy that we don't think about?

Do our comforts ever keep us from serving?  What things (not material things but personal things) keep us from serving?

Who is an example of a servant for you?

Is there a way God might be calling you to serve?

Other scriptures:  Titus 2:7; 1 Timothy 6:18; Matthew 5:16; John 13:4,5; Philippians 2:7

1 comment:

  1. Yesterday afternoon it was pointed out to me that in scripture the word 'slave' would have been a better translation than the word 'servant.' Phew! Servant is a tough choice for us but slave is an even greater stretch. May we passionately desire to be great slaves for Jesus!