Day 3

Worship Through Service

Matthew 25:31-46, Isaiah 58:6-11, Mark 10:35-45

BY Guest Writer

Have you ever wrestled with what it means to serve? In my own life, I’ve found it’s far easier to seek out what’s fun or brings comfort. Life gets tiring and stressful, and the only way we can survive is by putting something “fun” on the calendar, something to look forward to. Our family does this, and I don’t believe there is anything wrong with it. But I wonder if our craving for fun is masking a deeper desire for joy—the kind of fulfillment that comes from serving others.

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus says that when He returns He will know who loves Him by the way that we help others: “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink; I was a stranger and you took me in” (Matthew 25:35).

We’re tempted to read this verse and say to ourselves, “I need to sign up for a food kitchen” or “I need to give that homeless person a dollar the next time I see them.” These are all good things, sure, but is this the kind of service Jesus is really talking about in this passage?

Jesus also said, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve” (Mark 10:45). These two passages are bold calls to live our lives wide open to constant, regular, and sacrificial acts of laying our lives down for others. Jesus’s words beckon us to worship Him not through obligatory service, but with guttural prayers asking the Lord to allow us opportunities to love in His name.

Why does Jesus ask this of us? Jesus loves us, came to die for us, and knows that the only way for us to have the full, free, and joy-filled life that we so deeply desire is through the laying down our lives for others (John 15:13).

What does this look like? It might look like embracing an interruption in our already busy day. Or perhaps it looks like bravely praying that God would send someone your way to love in His name. It might look like asking Him to reveal opportunities to worship Him through service to others. Maybe you’re called to embrace the uncomfortable and not shy away from that call because you are afraid of the unknown.

When we create margin in our lives to serve others, we realize that any sacrifices we make to worship God in this way—whether it be through our time, resources, or creativity—all pale in comparison to the joy we receive as a result.

I pray that today, God would show us ways we can serve as Jesus served, and that the joy that wells up when we do would create an unquenchable desire for more!

Maria Furlough is a wife and a mother to one amazing 11-year-old daughter, three rambunctious boys, and one baby boy who lives in the arms of Jesus. Formerly a full-time youth pastor, Maria now teaches women’s Bible studies and works as the Missions Team leader at Lake Forest Church in Huntersville, North Carolina. Maria is the author of Breaking the Fear Cycle: How to Find Peace for You Anxious Heart and Confident Moms, Confident Daughters. You can find Maria on Instagram or Facebook @MariaFurlough or online at

Post Comments (77)

77 thoughts on "Worship Through Service"

  1. Brandi Young says:

    This was such an answer for me. I work at a daycare and it’s the first time I’ve ever had this kind of childcare experience. I was a family nanny before this. I truly feel like I can’t do it and then this message came and I finally think I figured out the right question to ask: How can I serve them? I can’t discipline them because of the philosophy of the center (don’t ask… Long story…) but I can serve them. And I’m asking that right question, I can figure out how to help the behavior issues…. It’ll be tough, but Jesus never promised easy…. He just promised possible!

  2. Laura DeLisle says:

    I pray that the Lord uses all of us to serve others today.

  3. Lidia Diaz says:

    Wow wow wow. So timely. This word was so needed today. “Jesus’ words beckon us to worship Him not with obligatory service, but with guttural prayers asking the Lord to allow us opportunities to love in His name.” I needed that so much. I’ve been so caught up in the performance or effort of service more than just trying to worship Jesus through loving people.

  4. Anna Simpson says:

    This was a much needed reminder today! I have a 15 month old and since he’s been in my life, I have struggled to be anything else other than his Mama. I haven’t found time for anything else. I’ve been a seat-filler at church, unable to attend prayer meetings because they’re at bedtime and he won’t go to bed without me, unable to attend mid-week meetings for the same reason and barely able to be a wife/friend/daughter etc. At church yesterday I was reminded of Gods grace.. and that I don’t have to do all of this or be all of this in my strength alone. So even though serving would be as an act of worship to God, He can and will still enable me to “find time” for it in my life! Thank you for reminding me today that all I have to do is ask God to present opportunities to me to serve Him, and He will faithfully provide me with them.

  5. Michelle Turner says:

    This message really pushed me this morning. I’m in grad school working full time, trying to balance a plate of so many things but it’s so very clear how much Jesus care about his people. Sure, I serve pretty often, but how often do I do it with a JOYFUL heart?? How much have I let my job become something begrudging and tiring to me? I can be tired and still serve joyfully because Jesus shows me if I am serving, I am serving him.

  6. Megan McDaniel says:

    Love this! As a third grade teacher, I need to remember to serve more joyfully than sometimes (shamefully admitting) that I can act like it’s a burden. I teach in a poor area and I spend some of my own money on snacks for my students that don’t have enough food or constantly complain of being hungry. The other day I spent $40 on snacks and instead of seeing it as a blessing, it honestly got on my nerves. I need to remember that when I help feed these kids, these children are “the least of these” where and who Jesus is…

    1. Heather Relation says:

      God bless you!

  7. Michele Seiffert says:

    This is so good… I can’t remember the last time I intentionally prayed that the Lord would send me someone to be a Light to. That is my prayer today: to be a missionary in my own workplace by sharing Jesus’ love by the power of the Spirit! ❤️

  8. Paige . says:

    What crazy timing for this! My husband and I just got asked if we’d be willing to help out with the youth group at our church… it’s Friday nights but we have a bible study saturday nights, so in our selfish ways we said no because we didn’t want every evening of our weekend to be gone… an hour after I tell them no I read this message…. I hear it loud and clear! Whatever our own personal excuses may be, we are called to serve others and help out wherever we can. If Jesus dedicated his life to serving others, so can I.

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