“…just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28
Let’s get right to the point with a probing question for leaders… “When is the last time you really served?”
As spiritual leaders most of us have been riding the wave of the “missional” tsunami in evangelical north america. This, for the most part, is a good thing (Caution against the unintended “works/earned salvation” impression theology). We have been planning, promoting and presiding over all kinds of connections with our local and global community, serving through the meeting of real needs in real time as never before! Again, this is a good thing, even a God-thing. The question, however, was not about the organizations we lead… it was about us as leaders.
When is the last time we really got our hands dirty? Sure, I am well aware of the Acts 6 paradigm where the preachers preach, teachers teach and the servants serve. But I’m not necessarily talking about doing so as a spiritual leader. What about your need to serve as a servant… just another child of God that was born again to follow Christ’s example? Never mind the fact that the best leaders do, in fact, lead by example. When was the last time you and your lead team served in a tangible way? Perhaps you might want to do so without any fanfare, without showing a heart-wrenching video montage chronicling your efforts set to “God of the City” the very next Sunday? Maybe it is a simple as joining your student ministries in their next outreach or work camp experience? Or, maybe just you, your spouse and kids spending a Saturday morning volunteering at a homeless shelter? The greater point is that it is so easy to lead in word and not in deed. It just happens… your heart is in the right place but in the crazy busyness of church business you look back over the previous three, six or more months and realize you have been preaching something you haven’t been practicing, at least not in a while. I know I can look back over my life and ministry and admit there have been seasons where I have been a little heavy on words and light on deeds.
The challenge is simple, put serving back in season. And sure, if you and your church family or organization haven’t served in your community in a while, then pray over it, plan on it and go for it together! Jesus is our example. He served and served and served some more. Yes, he served through preaching and teaching and ultimately through what only He could do, serving as the atonement for our sins and overcoming death through His resurrection. Still, along the way He wasn’t afraid to roll up his sleeves and get his hands dirty by helping those who so often couldn’t help themselves and touching the lives others simply refused to touch. Remember this, you are no more like Jesus than when you are serving.
Check out the opportunities in your community, maybe just down the street or right next door! Who can you serve? How can you serve them? And, what are you waiting for?
Serving with you,