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 (82)

82 thoughts on "Worship Through Service"

  1. Tynia Coleman says:

    There is such a joy that comes from serving others and meeting their needs. I believe we are built to experience this joy in serving as a reward from God. He’s a Good Good Father❤️

  2. Kim Anstaett says:

    I have loved all my volunteer opportunities throughout the years. I have helped in the office at Teen Parent outreach center, I have walked dogs at the animal shelter, I have facilitated groups for a Single Mom ministry, I have taken donations to local organizations from a local business, set up and cleaned up for church programs, helped at my sons school and the list goes on! This morning I walked dogs at a local shelter and pray they all find forever homes that abound in love. All of these opportunities have not only been good for the people or animals I am serving but have also been so good for my own heart! Serving grows you personally, spiritually and can even grow you professionally!

  3. Felicity Kgosisejo says:

    I recently moved away to start a new job. With this job came a 5 hours drive to church or alternatively a 2 hour drive to a small family group hosted by a brother in his house,since moving I have only worshipped with them once. I have been struggling to go there because I didn’t feel so encouraged when I “visited”,in my defense,the brother isn’t so eloquent and his msg was all over the place.

    Reading this has just made me realize how prideful my reaction has been towards a brother who is serving God,there is a new disciple baptized in this group,she and others who are studying the Bible look forward to meeting every Sunday and Saturdays when they have prayer services.

    I am encouraged to know that going to worship with these guys is not about me but rather serving God and ultimately everyone in the family group.

  4. Kirsten Murphy says:

    I have heard it misquoted so often “the first shall be last, the last shall be first” as if it’s a karma thing… When, in fact, Jesus is saying “my kingdom is upside down.” The servants ARE the leaders and ambassadors in my kingdom. Love that.

  5. Brittany says:

    Olivia, praying for you during this difficult season. May God bless you with strength each morning to rise and shine and give Him glory. What a difficult road you are walking, but I know you don’t walk alone, your story is one many women share, but I pray that restoration and healing will come swiftly. I thank God he let you see a glimpse of the impact your service at school has made. May it encourage your heart to know you loved that little girl well at a time in her life when she may have felt forgotten. You gave her but a glimpse of the unconditional love she is now enjoying in the arms of Jesus. Thank you for sharing your journey, Olivia!

  6. Brittany says:

    Wonderful news, Ashley! We will continue to pray for your sister’s healing and comfort.

  7. Patricia Arevalo Villegas says:

    I’m thinking about the service in my job, I’m working with kids that have learning problems in the rural small villages of a Peruvian city called Huanuco, I just came back from a 3 day vacation and I feel tired, I know that doesn’t come from the Lord, I have a past of doing things mediocrely and/or quitting, and these amazing kids don’t deserve it, they deserve all the love God has for them and I’m a channel of that love right now. Please pray for me that I don’t grow weary and that I can finish my undergraduate thesis soon. May God bless you all <3 praying for y’all and for this ministry

    1. Kim Anstaett says:

      Patricia, It is possible you have compassion fatigue. Lean into the Father and ask for His rest. It is good to go away for awhile and come back. Jesus went away then served the town then sat with his close knit circles then went away and then served the town then sat with his close knit circles… Healthy rhythms are good!

  8. Nikki Falvey says:

    Everyone’s comments on here are so encouraging and thought-provoking! The readings and the comments have me thinking that, while I am limited in free time right now with two toddlers and a full-time job, I can still serve God by serving my family and doing my job to the best of my ability. There will be more time in the future for more obvious acts of service, but right now I can only do what I can. And, of course, I am always able to serve through our most powerful act—prayer.

    1. Kim Anstaett says:

      Prayer and Philanthropy are beautiful ways to serve!! Also, you can involve your little ones by having them pray with you and or keeping a piggy bank to fill up with loose change to give to a local organization!

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