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. Anna Gallatin says:

    As a mama who has been feeling defeated, I really needed this reminder today. I love that this theme is so clear when you place these scriptures one after the other. Motherhood is a place of dying to self and serving others. Discipline and instruction rather than reaction are service. Meeting the immediate needs around me is service to my King. They are loving my neighbors, my realm of influence. Deep breaths and lots of prayer as we head into this day. I’m thankful for a new day.

  2. Rebecca T says:

    A good reminder that service is a daily act. Too often I think of it in bigger things (signing up for a volunteer shift for something at church for example) but it really is in the daily acts that we all do. I’ll be thinking today about how I can be more of service to my own family.

  3. Louise Marie says:

    Any success I have is about who he is. I can often just get on with things I’m ‘good’ at and not bother God about them. But here I am reminded these actions are purely due to who He is not me.

  4. Jessica Short says:

    It’s for you Lord ….. nothing else

  5. Annissa Hackney says:

    May God provide you rest and refresh you daily. My husband is a retired Marine with many combat deployments as well. He returned with PTSD & a TBI. I know it is hard and frustrating on so many levels, but turn to the Lord for your strength when you don’t feel like doing it anymore. You are not alone. If you are near a military base, take advantage of the free counseling or find a support group for caregivers. Is he willing to go to family counseling with you to learn coping skills? Lauren- you are loved and God will get you through this valley.

  6. Lindsay Laybourne says:

    The crazy twist that gets me is serving in our own home, neighborhood, or covid bubble. It’s hard to have opportunity, in a physical sense, when wanting to also abide by the covid restrictions in my area. For me serving others comes as second nature- everything I am and has is for the others- but in my home with my kids it’s harder to feel the same. With just one bathroom and small and tight spaces I have to build my home. I’ve been organizing, building a better home environment, and this is where I take the lesson today- I need to press into the Lord daily, not fall short in my mornings without any scripture to start my day, because being of service to my family- my closest neighbors- is often my largest struggle. Father, please help me in this and the other women who read this and feel the same in this today. Please lead us to building a home whose foundation is found in loving you and serving from then. Thank you Jesus, Amen!

  7. T says:

    That Jeremiah passage…argh! It starts out “The Lord of Armies”. So, the God who could totally have used the armies differently to stop you from being exiled in humiliation and suffering to a sinful kingdom that wasn’t even pretending to seek after the One True God, He’s the One saying “I exiled you to this place on purpose and you are going to be there for a while.” Our family has lost access to the country that was our home for over 20 years, so this is significant to me. Those mama’s in the time of Jeremiah also cried while comforting their sobbing children at night, the kids asking why we can’t just go home and why God hasn’t worked it out. They also worried that it would destroy their children’s faith in God. And the command is to get up each morning and make this new place home, to invest in it with acts of service and steps of permanence until finally one day they will actually get to go home (and by then it won’t be home to their kids at all!).

  8. Diania Abernathy says:

    May the Lord bless you and keep you. May He make His face shine upon you and be gracious unto you. May He lift your countenance and give you peace.

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