What does serving look like to you?
Recently Paul Norris talked about being Devoted to Fellowship which included serving one another.
“When we see that the early church were devoted to the fellowship it shows a devotion to the whole, a devotion to who they are together. A devotion to serving. But this wasn’t just a feeling of being together, this was reflected in their actions. They participated in the whole for the good of the whole. So to be devoted to fellowship means being devoted to serving one another and serving the greater purpose of the whole community, the local church.
But that isn’t just when we come together like this, this is about all of the time. When we are devoted to one another we will serve one another, we will think of others more highly than ourselves. If you see a need, whatever it is and you can meet that need, then do it. Show you devotion by action and serve each other.”
But what does serving look like?
Years ago serving in the church was all about Sundays and being on a team and on a rota. I know, because in a different church situation, I used to be in charge of the main church Sunday rota. And it was a chore. It wasn’t about being devoted to a community of people it was about making sure the church worked organisationally.
There were programmes available from mega churches in the States where with a set of questionnaires it was possible to identify which team you should volunteer for. You looked at passion, spiritual gifts, personality traits – all good things in themselves but actually as Paul says above: if you see a need and you can meet it, then do it.
Serving is about so much more than teams and rotas.
It’s about words of encouragement, saying thank you, providing a meal, giving to special offerings, sharing expertise and knowledge, baby-sitting, being a listening ear, bringing comfort, providing lifts, welcoming a new person at church, inviting someone who comes on their own to church to sit with you. It’s about being Jesus to people. And when we’ve practised all these things within the church context then going out into the world and serving people there.
Listen to the words spoken in your office, school or other work context. Do you hear words of affirmation or encouragement? I was told recently of a person who was thanked for a piece of work she had done and replied that this was the first time in 15 years that someone had made a positive comment to her about her work. But we can go beyond just saying thank you – after all that can just be seen as being polite. Comments like ‘I really appreciate how much time you put into this’ can mean so much to someone.
Take some time to reflect on your situation at work, at home, at church. What small things can you do that would mean so much to the recipient? How can you serve?