Read: John 13
“Now that you know these things, God will bless you for doing them.” (John 13:17, NLT)
If we are going to be the kind of Christ-followers that God can bless, our behavior will have to align with our beliefs. What we “know” must become what we “do.” Specifically, we will have to live like Jesus lived, which means serving like Jesus served. Jesus made that perfectly clear when he said,
“You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because that’s what I am. And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. (John 13:13-15, NLT)
So why is serving such a big deal?
First, quite simply, we are called to serve! Paul writes in Philippians 2:5-7, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who being in very nature God…took on the very nature of a servant.” In Galatians 5:13, Paul urged us to “serve one another in love.” When we are serving, we are fulfilling our basic Christian calling, and taking a huge step toward the blessed life Jesus promised.
Second, we were created to serve! Christians serve! Like a fish swims and a bird flies, Christians serve! Ephesians 2:10 reminds us “We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
Think about it: Before you were even conceived, God laid out specific plans just for you. You are not just an after-thought; you don’t just exist; you are on this earth not just to be a potted plant, you were born not just to consume, but to contribute. God shaped you to serve him. That places a big responsibility on your shoulders. Who you are is not just a product of random combination of your parent’s DNA. No—God was there at the moment you were conceived, even before, according to Ephesians 2:10, deliberately shaping you to serve his purposes through your life.
Third, service is what we contribute to the Body of Christ. God has a very specific purpose in mind for our call to serve: Not just go around helping people out randomly—although that is not a bad idea—but he specifically created us, converted us and called us to contribute to the life, health and mission of the local church.
I Peter 4:10 says, “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” How is God’s grace distributed? Not just in our private times with God…not just in corporate worship as we experience his marvelous presence, but as we serve one another. After salvation, serving is the primary means of God’s grace coming into our lives.
Fourth, service is what captures the world’s attention. Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount, “Let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” (Matthew 5:16, NLT) Here in John 13, Jesus said, “By this will all men know that you are my disciples: That you have love for one another.” (John 13:35)
It’s by authentic servanthood that we become living proof of a loving God.
Roy Hattersley, a columnist for the U.K. Guardian is an outspoken atheist who laments, “It ought to be possible to live a Christian life without being a Christian.” But after watching the Salvation Army lead several other faith-based organizations in the Hurricane Katrina relief effort, he wrote,
“Notable by their absence were teams from rationalist societies, free thinkers’ clubs, and atheists’ associations—the sort of people who scoff at religion’s intellectual absurdity… [Christians] are the people most likely to take the risks and make the sacrifices involved in helping others. Civilized people do not believe that drug addiction and male prostitution offend against divine ordinance. But those who do are the men and women most willing to change the fetid bandages, replace the sodden sleeping bags, and—probably most difficult of all—argue, without a trace of impatience, that the time has come for some serious medical treatment. The only possible conclusion is that faith comes with a packet of moral imperatives that, while they do not condition the attitude of all believers, influence enough of them to make [Christians] morally superior to atheists like me.”
The spotlight never shines more brightly on Jesus than when Christians serve. “By this, all will know that you are my disciples.”
Fifth, service causes happiness in your soul. There is something ennobling about serving others. Paul tells us in Acts 20:35, “Remember that our Lord Jesus said, ‘More blessings come from giving than from receiving.’”
Do you want to live an incredibly blessed life? Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
“Just as a servant knows that he must first obey his master in all things, so the surrender to an implicit and unquestionable obedience must become the essential characteristic of our lives.” ~Andrew Murray
What If God Took Over?
There is one vitally important question you must answer after you have been saved: Where are you loving God by serving others?