I can’t take any credit for this. This is a little prayer that my wife Elaine says every day. Guess what? The Lord always answers this one! It’s become a running joke with us, I keep telling her, you’ve got to stop asking him so much! Some days it is a constant job!
But, isn’t this what Jesus asks of all of us? Didn’t he say in Mark 10:45 “For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many”?
So, I ask you, how can we not ask the question – “Lord, how may I serve you today?”
This isn’t just a challenge but a direct instruction from Jesus. In verses 43 and 44 of the same chapter in Mark, He is addressing the disciples after they started to argue about who would sit at His right and left hand in heaven. He said: “But amoung you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be a slave to everyone else.”
Our responsibility is to serve, not be served. Our leadership in our families, our work, our church and our communities is in the example of service we give to others. To me that is the sign of true leadership. Someone who is willing to server his brothers and sisters, no matter what the task, is in my eyes a leader. Someone who just talks the talk, and seems to always say the right words, but never gets in the mix of what they are asking everyone to do is no leader, they are like the chief priests, the scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’ time. They were big on appearance, big on all the talk and proclamations, but were of the opinion that they were “above” doing any of the work.
I’m afraid we have a lot of the same in our present society. We have government leaders, federal, state, and local that are big on all the suggestions and ideas of what to do but are not willing to truly “serve”.
I’m drawn to another favorite book – Romans and in particular Chapter 12. I won’t take up the space to list the entire chapter, but do take the time to read it! There are very good life principles here, spoken by the apostle Paul to the Romans. In essence he is giving us examples of how to use our God given gifts in service to each other!
In the second verse, he tells us not to copy the behavior of the world, boy that can be a tough one! How often do we get caught up in the marketing of what’s “right”, the latest and greatest or what society deems correct? And how often does this go against what we know to be true and right as taught in the Bible? He goes on to explain in verse 4 that we all are truly in this together! We all are parts of the body of Christ. We really, really need to remember this! We need to remember that we are here for each other; our actions always have an effect on those around us, and many times much more than we realize. We all have a skill set in God’s eyes that we bring to the body. It is our responsibility to use it wisely and well. He continues to explain this further in verses 5 – 8.
In verses 9 & 10, he then tells us that we are to love one another with genuine affection. This can be another hard one for us to take. Human nature again gets in the way! Not many of us can say that they love someone who has just “thrown us under the bus” at work can we? Same way if comments are made that really hurt or cut into someone’s character or reputation, not really showing much love there either.
Just continue reading verses 11 thru 18, after you read them take a close assessment of yourself. If you’re anything like me, there are many times I wish I would be better at living as Paul spoke. I fall short every day, but I rest assured that in Christ, I get to try again the next day!
Now, a tough one, let’s look at verse 19 “Dear friends, never avenge yourselves. Leave that to God. For it is written, “I will take vengeance; I will repay those who deserve it,” says the Lord.” How often do we joke, I don’t get mad I get even? Probably not a good thing based on what the Lord is saying! I think He’s definitely making the point here, that this is HIS job and based on some of the writings in the Old Testament, He’s pretty good at it! I don’t want to be on the wrong side of that equation!
In the last two verses he then goes on with another great example of service. One that is again a challenge, but has its rewards in God’s eyes. Paul states: 20 Instead, do what the Scriptures say: “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink, and they will be ashamed of what they have done to you.” 21 Don’t let evil get the best of you, but conquer evil by doing good. How hard it is to help our “enemies” ? This is an outward sign of what we are called to do as Christians isn’t it?
One of the last teachings of Christ at the last supper is another example of the importance of being a servant. In John 13:15-17 Jesus says, “ I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.”
So, in closing today – think about the short prayer Elaine says every day. I challenge you to try it! Ask the Father – “Lord, how may I serve you today?” I think you will be surprised and blessed by the opportunities he presents you!
May the Lord bless you with days full of cheerful service to those around you, let Him fill your heart with the compassion of Jesus Christ and the willingness to be a faithful, loving servant!