What is the number one way that we can be like Jesus Christ? Is it praying? Resisting temptation? Faithfully obeying God’s commandments? Well, these are all massively important ways that we can emulate Christ’s example, but perhaps the most important way that we can be like Jesus is through a lifestyle of serving others.
The Greatest Example of Serving
It’s a familiar text: the Zebedee boys, James and John, bring their mom to Jesus and present him with a request: “say that these two sons of mine are to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom (Matt. 20:21).” She was in effect asking Jesus to place her sons in positions of authority and honor – positions in which they would be served by others. Jesus gives a surprising response. He informs them that greatness in the kingdom of God is not found in the swaggering big-shots but in those who are servants. Furthermore “the Son of Man came not be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many (Matt. 20:21).” Jesus gives us every reason to serve others by pointing us to true greatness and providing us with the most compelling example of serving – namely his own willing, substitutionary death on the cross for our sins. In humility, he counted us as more important than himself and we are called to receive his grace and walk in his footsteps by seeking to serve others.
Pursuing the Example of Jesus
We have an infinitely compelling and attractive model in Jesus Christ but so often we find obstacles to serving. Our schedules are too full. We are tired. People don’t seem appreciative. The list of reasons not to serve is seemingly endless. How then can we rise up, walk in the footsteps of Christ, and grow in serving others? Here are some suggestions to stoke your enthusiasm for serving.
1. Live near the Cross
In the Cross, we find not only an example to emulate but also the grace we need so that serving others for the glory of God is made possible. Here we find forgiveness for our failures to serve others and grace to strengthen us to lay down our lives and serve.
2. Consider who you are called to serve
Who is God calling you to serve? Your list should at least include your family, your church, and your neighbors. Consider taking some time to write down who God has called you to serve to help provide clarity.
3. Ask “How can I serve?”
As we return home from a long day of work, as we arrive at Community Group, as we connect with neighbors, wherever we go, we do well to ask ourselves “how can I serve?” Make it your practice to see ordinary social interactions as opportunities to serve others.
Whenever we see someone serving (look around Living Hope and you’ll see lots), we have an opportunity to remember the Suffering Servant — Jesus Christ — and express our gratitude to God for his grace and our appreciation to those who are serving. As C.J. Mahaney wisely encourages in his book Humility:
Make it your aim and lifelong habit, when you see someone who’s serving, to be reminded of the sacrifice of the Savior, for apart from his sacrifice there is no serving.
We are never more like Jesus than when we serve – what a privilege and opportunity! Let’s continue to be a church who passionately seeks to serve others by the grace of God and for the glory of God.
Continue the Conversation
- What are the obstacles in your life that keep you from serving?
- Who are the people in your life that emulate Jesus in the way they serve?
- What is one way that you can commit to serving right now?