Serving with Humility
If charged with the task of describing Christianity, what would your definition be? Let’s make this task a little more challenging. You must paint a mental picture of a Christian to someone who is unfamiliar with Christianity. While we are at it, let’s raise the level of difficulty even higher. You can only use one word. I believe that our one word answer can be found in Philippians 2:5-8.
“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, Who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death,even death on a cross.”
The word servant epitomizes our Savior and should perfectly illustrate the Christian attitude and life.
Just how important is our service in the Lord’s church? Jesus answered this question Himself in Matthew 20: 26:28,
“But whoever would be great among you must be your servant and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” The word “must” evidences the fact that being a servant is imperative to being acceptable in His kingdom.
This directive may seem overwhelming at times, especially for women in the Lord’s church. We understand we are to be submissive.
1 Tim. 2:11-15
“Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.”
We, therefore, cannot serve in what might be considered the “big jobs” in the kingdom. We are not authorized to offer our servitude in the capacity of minister, elder, or deacon. We often feel relegated to the “small jobs” that “women can do”. These areas of service may even bear the connotation of being nonessential and of little value in the kingdom, at least in our minds. Because of this thought process, many good works may go undone, many needs may go unmet, and therefore, many souls may remain unreached. We must look at the “small jobs” the way Jesus did.
“ For I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’
“Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’”
Many times it is the little acts of kindness that make the biggest impact. In the book of Acts, we are given a wonderful example of a woman who served in what might be considered a small capacity but with enormous significance.
“Now there was in Joppa a disciple named Tabitha, which, translated, means Dorcas. She was full of good works and acts of charity. In those days she became ill and died, and when they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room. Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, hearing that Peter was there, sent two men to him, urging him, “Please come to us without delay.” So Peter rose and went with them. And when he arrived, they took him to the upper room. All the widows stood beside him weeping and showing tunics and other garments that Dorcas made while she was with them. But Peter put them all outside, and knelt down and prayed; and turning to the body he said, “Tabitha, arise.” And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up. And he gave her his hand and raised her up. Then calling the saints and widows, he presented her alive. And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed in the Lord.”
Dorcas was “full of good works and acts of charity”. We do not know what all the good works were but we do know one of them. She made garments and tunics for the widows in Joppa. These very same widows were so touched by Dorcas’ service that they could not contain their grief when she died. They also proudly displayed, for all to see, the wonderful labor of Dorcas’ own hands. Had Dorcas considered sewing a menial task unworthy of being used as an outreach to others, many in Joppa may not have been given the opportunity to witness the miracle of her being presented alive from the dead. In turn, the “many that believed in the Lord”, might have remained unbelievers.
You see, so many times, it really is the “little things” that count. In fact, we can clearly see that in the kingdom of God there are no little works. There are only different jobs for the different members. “If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose.
1 Cor. 12:17-20
“If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.”
Visiting those shut in, sending a card to someone ill, calling someone in bereavement, cleaning the church building, and even sewing garments may appear on the surface to be “little things”. However, in reality, they all add up to “big things”.
Vincent Van Gough said,
“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.”
Christians must not shy away from the “small jobs”. We must take hold of every service opportunity and humble ourselves as servants because “He humbled himself.”
*all scripture taken from ESV.
quote taken from goodquote.com,
photo courtesy of Asai Chū [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Shanna Mathis Anderson is the wife of John who is the minister for Zion church of Christ in Middle Tennessee. She is the mom of Titus, Elijah, Norah, and Levi and has educated them at home for the past twelve years. Shanna is a member of the R16:16 team and recently started her own blog lifeinthecleft.com. She enjoys reading, writing, and working with pre-teen and teen girls in the Lord’s church.