Open for Service
By Tracie Miles
“Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave –
just as the son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:26b-28, NIV)
My son had been quietly keeping himself occupied as I completed some work when I suddenly heard him leaping down the stairs calling my name. He showed me his drawings, with lots of pictures, and at the top of the page were the words “Open for Service.” As he explained his brilliant little idea of making himself available to do things for other people, he began asking me what he could do for me. I gave him a few service opportunities, such as picking up toys, and giving me a special hug and kiss. He even asked his sisters if they had anything he could do for them, which was a little shocking! When I asked him why he was doing this, his face lit up as he proudly proclaimed, “I just like serving people and it makes them happy!”
I was so proud of my little man for having a servant’s heart, and began to consider if my own heart could stand up to that test. There are days when I think I deserve a pat on the back for all of the nice things I have done. I took a meal to someone; I kept a neighbor’s child when they had some errands to run; I cleaned up the house before my husband came home; I worked on planning a women’s event for church; I cooked a great meal for my family. Then there are other days when I am resentful that no one helped me clean the house, cook the meals, and plan church functions, and I am certain that no one appreciates all the hard work I have done. Neither of those attitudes is indicative of a servant’s heart. And did you notice often I used the word “I”?!
In Matthew 20:28, Jesus explains that He came to earth to serve, not to be served. He is the ultimate role model of someone who always put others before himself, and never expected, nor desired, any recognition for it. In 1 Peter 4:10, Peter instructs us to use whatever gifts we have been given to serve others, and he ends that statement by saying we should serve by “faithfully administering God’s grace in various forms” (NIV). In Romans 12:7, Paul explains that whatever gifts (or various forms of service capabilities) we have been given by God, it is our responsibility as a child of God to use those gifts to serve Him.
Even when we are serving wholeheartedly, sometimes our pride, or our desire to be recognized for serving, spoils everything. 1 Timothy states: “Those who have served well gain an excellent standing, and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.” The rewards we will reap for serving God with a whole and loving heart, and not desiring earthly rewards or recognition, will far outweigh any kudos we could receive from man. Although it will take a lot of work, my personal goal is that one day I can have an invisible sign on my heart that only God can see, and the words written on it would say, “Open for service.” I pray that nowhere on the sign will God see the word “I” and that my acts of service will be focused on the needs of others and done only for the One Holy Savior whom I am serving.
Dear Lord, help me to have the desire to serve You with my full heart, and to push aside feelings of selfishness and pride. Give me the wisdom to recognize the gifts You have given me, and open my eyes to opportunities to use those gifts to serve and glorify Your kingdom. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Small Acts of Grace by Alice Gray
Love In Action, an ETC article
When you hear the whisper of the enemy attempting to poison your mind with self-focused feelings, try to remember the verse from 1 Timothy 3:13.
Am I harboring feelings of resentment for areas of service that I am doing in my church or home?
Do I need to confess these feelings to God and ask Him to refresh my heart, so I remember that by serving others, I am also serving Jesus?
Am I trying to serve in so many different areas, that I am unable to give my full heart to the specific areas that God has gifted me for?
Galatians 5:13, “You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.” (NIV)
Ephesians 6:7, “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men.” (NIV)
Proverbs 31 Ministries
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Thursday, 14 June 2007.