Worship . Grow . Serve
What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. James 2:14-17, NIV
The Christian is called to a life of service - both for our brothers and sisters in Christ and for our unsaved neighbors. We are not saved by these works, but if we are confident in our salvation, it will be impossible to hide our overwhelming joy and gratitude. Others will see our love for Christ in our actions.
In Jesus’ vivid picture of the judgment recorded in Matthew 25:35-40, we learn that whatever we do for others, we are actually doing for Christ. Certainly, if we are truly grateful for what He did for us on the cross, we will be willing to do anything and everything for Him. But, He is the Almighty God of the Universe and doesn’t need anything from us. So, we must “do” for Him by “doing” for others.
Demonstrating our love for God by serving others is a consistent and frequent theme of Jesus’ teaching. In Matthew 22:37-39, He gave us both the greatest and the second greatest commandments, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.” When considered from the viewpoint of service, obedience to these two commandments merge into a single course of action. If we truly love God, we must serve Him, but He has told us to serve Him by serving others.
At His first coming, Jesus came as the suffering servant. (Isaiah 52:13-53:12) On the night before His crucifixion, He dramatically enacted this lesson for His disciples by washing their feet, teaching both them and us that since He came as a servant, we also must be servants. (John 13:12-17) The daily goal of every Christian must be to grow as a disciple of Jesus, and living a life of service is key to accomplishing that objective.
Although Jesus’ direct commands are certainly reason enough, there is also a somewhat less obvious reason for which Christians are required to be servants. Living a life of Christian service is by far the most effective way of obeying the Great Commission. (Matthew 28:18-20) Our unsaved neighbors will no longer listen to us talk about Christianity unless they can see us living it and placing it into action. We must be busy serving our fellowman because in so doing we will have the best opportunity possible for providing that greatest of all services - being used by the Holy Spirit to save souls. Only as our neighbors see us sacrifice ourselves through genuine service to others, will they begin to listen to our words. Then, and only then, can we tell them the Gospel and truly have their attention.
Serving others requires resources, which we may not think we have, but if we step out in faith, God will provide. (Matthew 6:25-34) We have been given the Kingdom of Heaven. Earthly possessions should no longer be important to us as we focus on building up treasures in heaven where we will live for all eternity. Clinging tightly to our earthly possessions causes our hearts to be earthly, and with all eternity ahead of us, the things of earth are insignificant. (Luke 12:32-34) No matter how poor we may be in earthly terms, we are the wealthiest of all people because “. . . we are heirs — heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ . . .” (Romans 8:17) “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade — kept in heaven for you.” (1 Peter 1:3-4) JBL