I heard a story years ago that changed the way I looked at everyday life. While I was in college I served on ministry impact teams that traveled to different churches and camps. During the Summer of 2004 I traveled with a team of six students. We spent a month or so in West Virginia and while working a camp one week we met a missionary who had been serving a small rural town that Summer. She shared with us some of the ways she and her team were reaching out to the local people in the town and I was immediately challenged in ways I never have been before. She said that this particular town was very poor and that there was not much there except bars and pornograhic stores. Basically the town was filled with the vibe of poverty, hurt, and no hope. She went on to share that one of the first days there she went into one of the bars, visited the bathroom, and discovered that it was probably the filthiest bathroom she had ever stepped foot in. It was as bad or worse as you would ever think a bathroom could get. She then left and returned with a mop bucket and some cleaning supplies. She approached the people working there and asked if she could clean the bathroom. She said they explained that they weren’t hiring at the time, but she immediately replied that she wasn’t looking to make any money, but just wanted to show them the love of Jesus in a practical way. Not surprisingly she said they were shocked and even laughed at her saying: “Sure, knock yourself out.” This act of service opened the door for her to build relationships with the employees there and share the gospel with them.
This simple story has wrecked me on so many levels. So often in my life I have been so self-absorbed with my own desires that I have missed these opportunities to serve others like Christ did.
“Even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28
When Jesus walked the earth, He was a servant who left the glory of heaven to walk in the dirt and serve those He created. He healed, taught, gave, loved, and lived as a foot washer. His ultimate act of service culminated on the cross when He gave His life for sinners. Jesus left the perfect model for us and that is to live a life of sacrificial service to others. This is a privilege, not a chore! We GET to serve people! I truly believe that we as Christ followers impact our immediate culture most when we live everyday life with the heart of a servant. It’s having the attitude of how can we heal and love those around us instead of always looking to be pampered. This starts with our hearts and seeing our purpose of being Christ to this world. I believe with all of my heart that opportunities to share the gospel will fall in our laps if we have this kind of mindset! So if you are reading this, maybe for you it means:
- Raking a widowed neighbors yard or cutting their grass
- Giving a word of encouragement to someone today via text or social media
- Showing an act of kindness without expecting something in return
- Taking somebody out to lunch or coffee just to pour into them and build them up
- Actually listening to people when they talk to you instead of always thinking of what you are going to say when they finish (yep, I’m guilty too)
- Leaving a generous tip along with a gospel tract or conversation you may have had with a server while eating out.
- Being loyal in your friendships and somebody they can count on
Remember that this is a priviledge. I dare you to serve somebody today and see how much it blesses you. Let’s show the love of Jesus in a practical way to a culture that desperately needs Him!