One of the more stunning statements of Scripture is Jesus’ description of why he came: “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45). As this Scripture describes, the being through whom “all things were made” (John 1:3) enters into his very own creation not to be served but to serve. In another place we read “he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant.” (Philippians 2:7). Jesus could have made demands. He could have revealed his position, flexed his authority, and demanded his own pleasures and comfort. Instead he became “obedient to death—even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:8). Why? What would motivate the creator of all to serve and comfort others rather than demand the service of those he created? A glimmer of understanding—and exhortation—comes when we consider the circumstances. Enter into any tragic situation, and anything short of service is twisted and evil. If we were first on the scene of a multi-car pile up, we would not step into the situation and look for ways to serve ourselves. We would call for help, apply tourniquets, bandage wounds, and comfort the distressed. It’s revealing that the Son of God took the approach he did in this world. All indicators are that from his vantage point we live in the midst of a multi-car pile up. We don’t always see it this way from our vantage point, though. All too often, we miss the tragedies that surround us for the thin veil that covers it all. But tragedy does abound, and the people we lock eyes with every day are both hurting and oppressed. Jesus made his purpose clear. He came “to proclaim freedom for the prisoners…to set the oppressed free” (Luke 4:18). Those who follow Christ will do as he did. We will be freedom fighters, liberators, and healers. We will look for ways to serve those around us—both physically and spiritually—and not be consumed with our own prestige, power, or comfort. We will “have the same mindset of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2:5). In Paul’s letter to the Galatians he describes his interactions with Peter, James, and John, men he described as “pillars” of our faith and said that “they asked…that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I had been eager to do all along.” (Galatians 2:10). So from the earliest followers of Christ, and from Christ himself, we have the example of those who served by proclaiming the deepest of spiritual truths and by giving in the most practical of ways.
Spiritual Fitness Check
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Signs You're Living It Out
Proactively finds ways to serve others rather than dodge needs
Can name at least one serving situation in the past three months that was challenging—and not particularly pleasurable within itself—but engaged nonetheless
Can identify one simple act of service in the past twenty-four hours
Practices service in a manner that truly helps and empowers those being served rather than service that hinders or enables
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This bible study gives a holistic look through Scripture at the Serve outcome. Engage thought provoking questions for individual reflection and then discuss them in your Life Group or Spiritual Running Partner relationships.
Consider a useful but all-too-often misapplied little word. Consider…OR. Yes, we need it…Do you want to travel to this city OR that city? We can’t be in two places at the same time. Do you want to marry this person... Read More
We’re tired of plastic religiosity. We are after the real thing and if the real thing is genuinely available we’ll drink deeply. This morph me exercise is a soul-satisfying experience if you want more of the real thing.... Read More
We typically have faulty assumptions about the causes of poverty, resulting in the use of strategies that do considerable harm to poor people and themselves. When Helping Hurts provides foundational concepts, clearly articulated general principles and relevant applications.
If you are not normally dependent on public transportation, spend a half-day traveling through your town on the bus or train. Observe the people who use this service. Figure out how you would have to rearrange your life if you were always dependent on a bus schedule. As you ride, pray about simply being... Read More