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How Shall We Serve?

Date: 
Sunday, 16 May 2004

There are people who perform lowly deeds around our hawker centres. They remove and wash dishes, disposed of garbage and wipe tables. They are rarely noticed or thanked and are almost never in the limelight. In New Testament times, these people would be called 'deacons' or 'servants'.

What is a servant? A servant is someone who is at the disposal and service of others. A servant is marked by attitude, not ability. A servant joins Isaiah to say:Here am I, send me (Is 6: 8). A servant joins Jesus to say:not my will but yours be done) (Lk 22: 42). A servant 'dons the towel' and washes the feet of others (Jn 13: 1- 17), looks to the interests of others and empies himself that others may be served (Phil 2: 3- 8).

God calls us to serve him and others with our time, talent and treasure. His call is backed by his deeds, for he shows us what it is to serve.

Consider today's Bible passage (Eph 2: 1 - 10). It speaks frankly of our universal rejection of God and its consequences in our spiritual death (vs. 1- 3). This gives the 'set up' for what comes next - a wonderful account of how God lovingly served us in Jesus Christ (vs 4- 7). Notice how God's motive was love for us and how he was indeed 'rich in mercy', doing all necessary to provide for our deepest need.

Our service to others is sometimes based on a sense of whether they deserve help. The deserving needy gets our generous help while the undeserving receive less attention. Again, we often expect those whom we serve to stir themselves for some self-help. God's help is equal to all- based on need. God serves those who cannot help themselves because they are 'dead' in their sins. God serves those who deserve no help, because our problem is all our own fault. God's service to us is all of grace and none of our works (vs 8- 10)

God only shows us how to serve, but he also frees us to serve. having been so well served by God, we find that our most important life needs are met. This then frees us from serving ourselves to look for opportunities to serve God and others. This service is one of the many 'good works' that God has prepared for us to do in response to this grace-full service to us in Jesus (vs 10b).

Someone writes that the more we study the grace of God the more we should take to the streets to serve as we have been served. As Jesus once said: Go and do likewise(Lk 10:37)