To serve. The third part of our three week series discussing the church's new, still in progress, mission statement. We think of serving in many ways, mostly gauged by how large of an impact we can make in a problem. Whether the problem is large or small, our impact may not be completely proportionate to the problem. But no matter what we feel like we are called to do, each and every journey begins with one small step.
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature[a] God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature[b] of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (NIV)
Service is a humbling business. And if we seek to follow Christ and become more like him, we must find a way to serve his people- which is to say anyone. Who is someone you know who has a need? A neighbor, family member, friend....someone you may not particularly like? Be realistic in considering their need and how you might be able to contribute. Do you have 5 minutes you can set aside for them in your day? 30 minutes within your week? Can you wash a load of laundry or pick up a few extra things from the grocery to drop by their house?
Consider what this person needs by asking them. We may view the issue from the outside and may think we know what they need most, but that is not for us to decide. Listen to someone, be honest with how much time or effort you are able to contribute, and then allow them to show you how you can best serve them. Sometimes prayer or a phone call are the most simple but effective ways YOU individually can help. While missions near and far are important, we have missions in our own neighborhood that need as much attention. Some are called overseas, some are called next door. You do not have to travel overseas or build a house to serve Jesus. Sit at his feet and ask him, "Lord, how might I serve you?"