I know we like to think of ourselves as the servant of no one or nothing, but that is not true. In fact, there is never a time or place in life when we do not serve. Children obey parents, students follow teachers, and employees do the work given by employers. But service is often a two-way street. Parents, teachers, and employers serve as they lead those under their control. And no matter how high one’s authority becomes, he answers to someone.
Jesus offended some of the Jews when he taught, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32) They understood His implication about service, and denied they were ever slaves to anyone. (John 8:33) They of course were wrong. The Jews had been captives of Babylon and were currently under Roman rule.
I don’t know why, but we often associate the idea of serving as something undignified and degrading. Nothing could be further from the truth. God created us to serve and only by doing so can we get the most out of life. (Psalms 139) Unfortunately, many deny this basic fact. They look to what people can do for them instead of what they can do for others. President John F. Kennedy expressed the right idea when he said, “Ask not what your country can do for you–ask what you can do for your country.”
Do you feel better or worse when you help someone? Surely most of us feel better after we lend a hand. (2 Cor. 8:1-2) Even if your life is not going well and problems are piling-up, reach out to serve. (Phil. 2:17) You may wonder, “how will this help me, I’m the one with needs and issues right now. I am the one who needs help.” Well, reaching out to aid others might help you to put your own problems in proper light. Plus, showing kindness has a way of lifting us up even when we are down.
I know we can tire of serving now and then, or we may feel like we just don’t have the time to help. (Gal. 6:9-10) We may even come to believe that some people expect too much from us, or there is just too much for any one person to do. Ideally, we will all do what we can when we can to help one another. We should also realize the little deeds we do can make all the difference to someone in need.
Let me ask you to do a few things over the next two or three months. I realize you may already feel stretched thin, but I am not asking you to do anything that takes much time. If it takes four or five months to get done some of what I ask, then that is fine too. My point is, commit to service and then follow through.
Sometime this week call or send a card to at least one person on our sick list or shut-in list. It may be one of our members or someone in their family. If you plan to contact a family member of someone who attends here, I suggest you check with them first. Do the same next week for a different person and then continue the practice. Five minutes a week to send one card or make one phone call, that is all I am asking for. I know that some of you do more than this already, but if not, this would be a good place to start. One more thought, we have close friends who we would normally check on any way, expand you efforts and care to include others.
Have you noticed some missing the assembling of saints? Do you think it would be a good idea to contact them, to check on them, or to encourage them? So again, this week call or send a card to someone who has been missing our services. Let them know how much we miss them when they don’t attend. If you do not know who has been absent, check with our elders, they can give you a name or two. As above, do the same next week for a different person and then continue the practice.
I know the role of our “four groups” is to make sure we contact our sick or missing members and visitors. This is a good work, but I am asking you to do a little more on your own. Can you spear five or ten minutes of your time each week to make a difference for those who may need your encouragement?
This church has so many good qualities, including the fact we enjoy one another’s company. While our reason for assembling is to glorify God, we sure like to visit with one another before and after services. There is no way I want to discourage this time together, but we also have visitors at most services. They need and deserve our attention too. It is our privilege to make them feel welcome. My proposal is simple, immediately following services go to the foyer and spend the first few minutes meeting with and talking to our visitors. Keep in mind that some visitors try to get out quickly and so you cannot delay. Look, many of us stay around after services for an hour or so anyway, we can do this.
This past week brother Hal Hammons preached a series of lessons on “Service”. He did a great job of conveying God’s Will and, if you missed any of the services, I would encourage you to get copies of the CD’s. The point of God’s message is we are here to serve Him.