Day 8

Service



Jeremiah 29:4-7, Matthew 20:25-28, Matthew 22:34-40, Matthew 25:31-46, John 13:1-17, 1 John 3:16-18

BY Guest Writer

The spiritual discipline of service, or putting the needs of others ahead of my own, does not come naturally to me. In fact, my tendency is to place myself upon the throne of my own heart and prioritize my own needs and desires above all else. Yet, Jesus clearly tells us to beware of this impulse and act differently. He tells us that loving God above all things and caring for those around us are the two divine directives upon which all holy living depends (Matthew 22:36–40). 

In 2015, I became an elementary school teacher. Daily, I am given the opportunity to actively serve others, namely, my students. But I cannot love the people around me as God commands if I spend my energy on trying to  advance my own interests. Instead, service is a means of turning to Him daily—seeking His strength, patience, and peace—if I hope to serve my students well. In this discipline, God is actively training me to become more dependent on Him and less enamored with myself. 

My current position is not something I consider to be a temporary situation that I just need to “get through” on my way to something less difficult and more rewarding, or less costly to my ego and more beneficial to my sense of accomplishment. Rather, He has instructed us to “build houses” and to “plant gardens” in our current spheres of influence (Jeremiah 29:4–7). If that is indeed the case, I must begin each day pleading God’s mercy, submitting to His will, beckoning the Holy Spirit to empower me to serve others first, and then putting these things into practice. When Jesus says, “Whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant” (Matthew 20:26), He’s addressing my heart’s most preeminent idol: myself. 

If we subscribe to the world’s definition of greatness—some combination of influence, authority, wealth, and recognition from others—Jesus would have us reconsider what we value. These assets are by no means wrong in and of themselves, but when achieving them becomes our chief motivation, we lose sight of a foundational ethic in God’s kingdom: putting ourselves aside in favor of our neighbor (Mark 12:30–31). 

For my part, any success I have in the service of my students, or anyone else for that matter, is not because of who I am or what I’ve done. It’s an act of living out who He is and what He’s doing right now, in and around me. It’s the daily practice of demonstrating my dependence on Him by assuming the role of servant instead of dedicating myself to the pursuit of my own glory.

Written by Alex Florez

Post Comments (127)

127 thoughts on "Service"

  1. Kelley Anne says:

    A good reminder to remember others above ourselves.

  2. Kelley Anne says:

    Love this

  3. Susan Patchett says:

    Anna I too am a mama & it can be very exhausting but very rewarding when we think in terms of who we are serving-the next generation of Christians who need to see our faith in action, working His purpose out. . God bless

  4. Rebekah Williams says:

    So it’s like the purpose behind self care is different. It’s not so I can get better and get more glory, but it’s thanking and respecting God for the mind and body he gave me so I can in turn give it over to him.

  5. Rebekah Williams says:

    I found the phrase, “these assets are by no means wrong in and of themselves, but when achieving them becomes our chief motivation, we lose sight of a foundational ethic in God’s kingdom…” very helpful because I’m dealing with learning how to balance self care with my walk with Christ. So not shaming myself for not being perfectly selfless is really important right now. Yes over emphasizing self care is unrighteousness but if I do not take the time to take care of the mind and body God has given me then I cannot be as effective as a servant for him.

  6. Stephie D says:

    All of this today.
    It can be so weary and draining being a SAHM to my little people because there are countless needs. I struggle with this service because sometimes I am just tired and want to sit. Sometimes I want to be left alone. I often see this calling as too difficult and where are you Lord in it.
    I’ve come to realize and will continue to that there is glory in the ordinary. There is purpose, beauty, and honor in serving the Lord in the unseen ways/places as I shepherd my little people’s hearts.
    There is every opportunity to serve in love and honor the Lord in bath time, in cooking, and in the endless laundry piles. I am thankful that He does continue to show me that I’m not discarded as the world may see me as but to Him I am performing faithfully a service. Who knows what these little people may do for His kingdom one day all because I served my King faithfully in all the small things in my home.

  7. Mercy says:

    Very thankful to previous comments and insights on how motherhood is truly a journey of humility, service and putting yourself last. During Covid, multi extra loads have been put on top of the usual motherly role and I was growing exhausted day after day, thinking how long Lord, sometimes to the point thinking I am unfortunate. But oh boy, how my thought lead me astray! you see, only the Truth can set us free. This is NOT unfortunate, this is basic training (military style), this is dying to self, and esteeming others before own own benefits (it hurts). Grateful for this deep revelation! I can now be joyful as I daily wash my husband’s and children’s feet with no resentment (feet are usually stinky and not pleasant.. but God, He still did it for us). Who is greater, the one who serves or the one who sits? Yet Jesus says I am the one who serves, says the Great I Am. I am just amazed how the King of all Kings would humble himself to this point to set an example. He is truly meek and lowly at heart, no pretending, no façade. I can’t imagine the power within him that enables him to do such beautiful and lowly deed for us. Glory glory to you Lord. May the name of the Lord be forever exalted by all. May the magnitude of His humility be shown through us! Amen!

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