What’s in a Word? – Service

Back when I was in my early 20s, the Meyers-Briggs test was all the rage as young adults in particular began a thorough search into better ways to describe and summarize themselves—in an effort, I truly think, to understand and be understood. Everyone knew what their I-E-S-F-N-F etc. etc. was at the time. I took the test twice and got totally different results, and after that, always had a hard time remembering what my letters were and which one was the “real me”.

Then along came the Enneagram, a slightly-less complicated (for me, anyway) system of self-actualization, in that you didn’t have to remember four letters, just one number. That number, far and away for me, was a 2 (wing 3, if you want to get technical, but I attribute that flare to my administrative nerd).

The 2 is often called the helper or the server. It was this, more than anything, that clicked for me; I had thought for a long time that jumping in to help people was just how I was raised, but after my mom and I both tested as 2’s, everything started making a little more sense. Serving is my default because it’s built into me, it’s literally how I was made!

Such wisdom God had in making His Church, the Body of His Son, Jesus. There are those who teach and preach and study Scripture for hours, and there are those who set up chairs and bring coffee and make sure everyone has food and gets up to stretch every 15 minutes. God makes it abundantly clear in His Word that the gifts which keep people out of the spotlight and behind the scenes, keeping things running, are not to be any less esteemed; this is clear evidence God esteems the place of a servant as highly as any evangelist, pastor, or teacher. (We’re all called to be servants anyhow!)  In fact, it is often the case that the Church’s acts of service bring a clear and distinct witness even to those who are tired of hearing about the Gospel and want to see it in action instead.

So if you too feel called to a position of serving others, don’t sell yourself or your gift short; it is of God, it is mighty and powerful, and its purpose is incredible. Let’s not be afraid to serve wholeheartedly, bringing great witness to God by how we uplift and attend to His precious Church and the world around us! After all, mankind was made to tend the Garden…and there is plenty of work still to be done!

What is Service?

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines serving as “to be of use; to be favorable, opportune, or convenient; to be worthy of reliance or trust.”

Each of these is a facet to the service God needs from us. Service should be others-oriented and intent on the well-being of others, not about puffing ourselves up or looking good because we’re so helpful.

In serving God’s Church and the stricken world, we certainly want to be of use; we want to be His hands and feet! Our offerings of service should indeed be favorable, opportune, and convenient; we should be offering help not just when it’s “a good time” for us, but whenever we see a need we can and should meet! And we certainly want to be worthy of reliance and trust; not just to those who we serve, but to the One who gives the gifts by which we serve!

What Does the Bible Say About Service?

1 Peter 4:10 – As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.

Galatians 5:13 – For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

Romans 12:6-7 – Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching;

How Can I Become a Better Servant?

One of the greatest aspects of living a life of service is dying to self. We cannot serve both others and our own self-interest. Jesus demonstrated this beautifully in the way he humbled himself to wash his disciples’ feet—an act that many in the ancient world refused to do for one another because it placed them so “low.” Yet Jesus demonstrated the servant’s heart of placing one’s own wants and reputation beneath the loving act of service.

In order to be service-oriented, we have to get out of our own way and be willing to love and listen extravagantly. We have to put the needs of others before ourselves; we have to be willing to live without accolades, without the best seats at the table, without the praise and recognition that often comes with a position of high authority. We have to “go low to go high” – in other words, be willing to be the ones working behind the scenes to ensure everything goes according to God’s plan, even if it means nothing happens to shine the spotlight on us.

Servitude can be a difficult, demanding lifestyle. But it is never thankless. After all, aren’t we all striving for the same words when we stand face to face with God? “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Take Action!

Take a look at the people around you in life. How can you be of service to someone today?

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