Teaching, Uncategorized

Finding Joy through Service

September 27, 2011

Sometimes I have found myself wondering what I am doing with my time. I can get so busy with work and school, and I will forget that the things I do in my day to day life should be focused on God, and serving Him. I heard it said one time that there was a reporter who traveled widely and had the chance to interview many people. The reporter had interviewed quite a range of people, all the way from celebrities to missionaries. This reporter stated that in most cases, the most miserable people were the celebrities, and that the most happy and fulfilled people were the missionaries.

In hearing this, I thought about my own experiences. I have had the opportunity to go on many mission trips to different countries. I have been seen many people that are out on the mission field, giving their lives away in service to God, and the people around them. They are so full of joy, and have an un-explainable, contagious passion for life and service.

I often struggle with the battle that happens inside of me when I start thinking that the right pair of shoes, the perfect outfit, pretty decorations for my apartment, or anything else will make me happy. It is a daily battle that I will think the things in this world can make me feel satisfied. It is funny, because I have learned time and time again, that they do not make me feel satisfied in life. I have experienced times when I feel like I am doing what I was meant to do, and I am so content, and it is in the times that I am serving the Lord, and giving him my time and talents. I have learned this so many times, but I still have to learn it over and over.

You may have a similar struggle as I do. Maybe you know that God’s Word calls you as a Christian to serve Him and others, but you get so distracted by other things in life. Or maybe you do not know where to get involved, or how to serve. All of us at times have a hard time following God’s will, and His plan. We all have selfish, and fleshly desires that draw us toward what the world has to say. The world teaches us to be selfish, and to find happiness we must seek after all the things the world has to offer. These things will always leave us unfulfilled.

It is in scripture that we are told all the answers to life, and these instructions show us how we are to live our lives in order to find joy in Christ. If we live our lives as Scripture calls us to, in service, then we will be moving toward God and deepening our relationship with Him by obeying his commands. Lets open up to Mark 10:44-45. This passage says “and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 45 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.” [1]

To give some context to this passage, this is Jesus speaking to his disciples James and John. James and John had come to Jesus and requested that they be given a spot of honor by sitting on the right and left hand of Christ in heaven. James and John had not quite caught on to how Jesus does things. They were still caught up in the Roman cultural push toward titles and honorable positions. They were seeking to be glorified for their good work of following Jesus, but their desire was selfish. When Jesus said, “whoever wants to be first must be slave to all”, he was responding to James and John’s request to be His right hand man.

The word “slave” by one definition says it means “total subjection of one person to another” In the New Testament, the Greek word for “slave” can also mean “servant”. [2] The idea that I am to be a servant for God by being a slave or servant to others does not exactly make me excited. God’s teachings are often counter-cultural in any context. Being a servant to all would not have been the normal desire for people back in the first century, just as it is not the desire of people in our culture today.

I can get excited about being a servant when I read Matthew 25:35-40, which says “35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ 37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”[3]

When I read this passage in Matthew, and realize that whatever I do for those here on earth, I am really doing it for God, that gives me some excitement. I want to honor God, and grow in my relationship with Him, so why wouldn’t I want to serve my Savior and Creator? I have come to find that it is such a blessing when I serve others, and show them the love of Christ through my actions. Even though this would not usually be my natural tendency to serve others, I find that as I grow more in love with God, my desire to serve others grows stronger. When we have Christ in our lives, God’s Holy Spirit changes the desires of our heart.

God has called us as believers to be servants. Thankfully, being a servant means we can find joy, and know God. There are so many hurting people out there that need our help. There are so many different ways we can serve. I encourage you to find an area that you can get involved in serving others. There are opportunities at our church in the kids department that would be really fun. You could help on Sundays to love on the younger kids and teach them about God. Or you can help in the church’s food pantry. There are also opportunities outside of the church here locally in our town, like volunteering at the City Rescue Mission, or even helping out a kid in your school who can afford their school supplies. Get your parents involved, and go out shopping for some essential schools supplies that you can donate to a student, or to the school’s guidance counselor to give to the appropriate person. Next time you find yourself bored, or even sad and struggling, try going out and serving someone. I bet that it brightens your day to see someone else blessed.

[1] New International Version, The Bible, Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2008

[2] Harpers Bible Dictionary, Slavery, Harpercollins, 1985

[3] New International Version, The Bible, Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan 2008

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