To Serve or Not To Serve

“If we serve our wives, they will become lazy and expect us to serve them indefinitely!”

I was shocked to hear this reaction when I recently suggested to a group of Gospel leaders that they follow Jesus’ example during our week together: to serve their wives instead of being served by their wives.

“We are not to serve our wives,” I was told–in no uncertain terms.

We were able to have a meaningful follow-up conversation about servanthood, but their responses got me thinking: Were these men just bluntly revealing a truth that I held in my own heart? Painfully, I concluded this was true: every day I resist or overlook an opportunity to serve others.

Regardless of culture, it’s common to view being a servant as inferior to being served. It’s the same reality that Jesus confronted with his lifestyle of profound, life-giving, life-sacrificing service. His life–and his death–contradicted this universal human pattern (John 13:1-17). Jesus chose to ignore the same noise that distracts us from the vital mission of serving those around us. How can I look more like Him? What factors can I adjust to reflect Him to others?

Time: We can choose to make time for others. It is never a mistake to pour time, resources, and love into others even when they are–or feel–limited. Even in his busyness, Jesus made time for others. In fact, I suspect that I would be well served by actively un-busying myself, creating more space for service.

Interest: We can rejoice when others benefit from our service. We don’t need to get credit for everything! Give away your ideas and see what God does. This is a great way to show interest in others.

Priorities: We win when we help others win. When I allow God to order my day, He never fails to surprise me with opportunities to serve others. Relinquishing control is challenging for me, and sometimes I don’t get to the things I had planned for that day, but God is able to complete what He had planned–which is always a win!

Desire: We can desire benefit for others rather than for ourselves. Even my service to others can be calculated to indirectly benefit myself. Ouch, that one hurts. Although this is true, God mercifully (and daily) continues to present me with the choice: others (and Him) or me (and myself and I). I pray for the courage every day to choose Him by serving others.

In order to be like Jesus, we need to depend on Jesus. We can’t do this on our own! Through Him, and only with His guidance and help, we can become selfless servants, and model His lifestyle in our own daily lives.

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