You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. Galatians 5:13
We live in a society where there word “servant” is viewed in a negative way. I can say that I’ve personally never heard anyone say, “When I grow up I want to be a servant.” We live in a society where people believe that a successful person is whoever makes the most, whoever has the most, and whoever leaves the most behind.
One person said it this way: “The person that dies with the most toys wins.” However, God has a totally different view on success, and a greater purpose for our lives. God has called us to serve. He has called us to be a “servant.” Today, many people have the misconception that being “called” by God is something only missionaries, pastors, nuns, and other church leaders’ experience. But the Bible says everyone is called to serve God by serving others. We are not saved by serving, but we are saved for serving. The Apostle Paul gives three insights related to this:
First, the basis for serving others is salvation. Paul says, “You were called to be free.” You cannot serve God until you’ve been set free by Jesus. It’s the prerequisite for serving. Until you experience the transforming power of God’s grace in your life, you’re too enslaved by your own hurts, habits, and hang-ups to think much about others. Without the freedom of forgiveness, you’ll end up serving for the wrong reasons: trying to earn the approval of others, trying to run away from your pain, trying to remedy your guilt, trying to impress God. Service motivated by these illegitimate reasons is bound to leave you burned out and bitter in the end.
Second, the barrier to serving others is selfishness. Paul warns, “Do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature.” The number one reason we don’t have the time or energy to serve others is that we’re preoccupied with our own agendas, dreams, and pleasures. Only a small minority of people use their lives to serve others, but Jesus said, “If you insist on saving your life, you will lose it. Only those who throw away their lives for my sake and for the sake of the Good News will ever know what it means to really live.” (Mark 8:35)
Third, the motive for serving is love. Paul says, “Serve one another in love.” This is an important key to building community: 1 Corinthians 13:3 records, “No matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.” God is far more interested in why you serve others than in how well you serve them. He’s always looking at your heart, serving willingly and eagerly out of love for Jesus and gratitude for all he’s done for you. You are most like Jesus when you’re serving others. After washing his disciples’ feet, Jesus said, “I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.” (John 13:14–15)
Understand you make a living by what you get, but you make a life by what you give. This week at South Side we will talk about how we are called to serve God and others. We would love to have you and your family attend worship with us at 10:45!
South Side Church of Christ