I am getting ready to go to a youth camp where we will study the life of Abraham, learning about how to be a faithful friend of God. We plan on having over 60 youth at this camp. One of our desires is to use this camp as a chance to motivate the youth of Moldova to have an eternal impact in their society. The first night of the camp I want to preach a sermon on service, the importance of Christians serving God by serving the people around them. In order to prepare for this sermon, I want to write an article explaining the main truth of the message. I hope that this message will be as helpful to you as it has been for me.
I. Serve God and others by following the example of Jesus Christ. In the Gospel of Mark, we find out that the King of kings and Lord of lords did not come to this earth to be served (like most kings and lords all throughout human history) but instead, He came to serve others. These are His own words:
He could have come to be served since He was and is the Creator of the universe and all that is in it (including mankind) yet He chose to set an example for His followers to follow; serve the people around you. Jesus spent His life sharing the Gospel with the people around Him and finally, going to the cross to die for those same people, so that the power of the Gospel could be manifested in their lives. Most of the people around Him understood His emphasis on service but at the end of His life, He had to teach His most faithful followers a lesson on service. We find this lesson in the Gospel of John 13. There are a few things I would like to point out from this lesson on service. To set the context, I would like to explain why things happened the way that they did. Since there were no cars during Jesus’ day, He and His disciples usually walked everywhere that they went. After a long day of walking in the dust while wearing sandals, their feet would need washing before entering the house. Usually the position of feet washer was reserved for the one who had the lowest rank in the group. Each disciple walked in and decided that the duty of feet washer belonged to someone of a lower rank. When Jesus picked up the water bowl and the towel, each disciple realized, “I should have been the one who picked up the towel and water bowl.” They all learned a lesson in humility and service (a lesson that they never forgot).
- Do not wait to be served.
- When you see a need, meet it.
- Put yourself in the lowest position (do not think more highly of yourself).
II. Serve others without hidden motives. Many people end up serving, not so much to meet a need but instead, they serve for what they can get out of it. It may be recognition or something to hold over the heads of those served (remember when I did such and such for you, now you owe me). God says that we must serve others because we serve Him. There cannot be hidden motives or you will end up trying to serve 2 masters and Jesus speaks very clearly on this subject.
If you have hidden motives in your service to God and others then you are trying to serve 2 masters; one being God and the other being yourself (your own personal interests). They question is, why do you do what you do? What is your motivation? You say you serve the Lord, but the question is “why?”.
III. Serve with the right attitude. Your attitude depends on you. The way that you serve depends on the type of attitude that you have. God wants us to serve others, there is no doubt about that, but He is also interested in the way that we serve; the type of attitude we have while serving matters to God. People notice right away. When you go to a restaurant, you can tell right away when a waiter or waitress is working just for the money or if the person enjoys serving others. The same is true in Christian service. When you serve with hidden motives or a bad attitude then people are turned off by your actions, even when they are noble actions. The reason that you serve, to open the door for the Gospel, is lost in the shadows of your attitude. Your service ends up being in vain or becomes a hindrance to the Gospel instead of opening the door for the Gospel. Here is how Christians are to serve.
5 Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ ; 6 not by way of eye-service, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. 7 With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men, 8 knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free. (Ephesians 6:5-8)
Honor the people whom you serve by showing them respect. If you are serving homeless people in a soup kitchen, do not treat them as second class citizens. Treat them as future brothers and sisters in Christ. Be sincere in your service. Do not serve so that you can get something in return (living by the law of karma) but instead, serve others seeking nothing in return. Do not serve so that others will see you serving and brag about what a good person you are. Be humble and serve even when no one else will know about what you have done. Serve others from the heart and treat your service to them as if you are serving God Himself. Know that God will reward your service if you have the right attitude. What kind of attitude do you have when serving the people around you? Again, why do you do what you do?
IV. Our service to others will show if we are truly children of God or not. God places us in situations where we have a chance to “practice what we preach” and those who are His will serve Him by serving the people around them.
So, does your lifestyle show that you serve God by the way that you serve the people around you? Do you serve with pure motives? Do you serve with the right attitude? Maybe you are a person who gives lip service to God but with your actions you serve yourself and your own interests more than the interests of God and the people around you. If this is the case, then you need to repent and become a true servant of God which will lead you to serving others with pure motives. May the Lord bless us as we live in obedience to Him in every aspect of our lives.