I have always served in some capacity within a church. Whether it was cleaning the toilets, serving in Children’s Ministry, on in some other area of the church, I was always serving. When my husband and I left our church and moved on to another one, my first thoughts were “where do I serve”? Being a Christian we desire to serve God, we desire to work for the Kingdom of God. For me, it was natural to just to go back into Children’s Ministry. But, after a few months God started moving in my life, moving me away from serving within the church to serving the church.
|Photo taken from: generationone.org|
As Christians I believe we think to serve God means we have to be serving in a church building, doing some sort of ministry. To be honest, that is what I have always thought it meant to serve. If I wanted to serve God and serve the body the best place to do that was within the church I attended. But then the Lord showed me that He had other plans, other plans that required me to serve elsewhere- outside the church building. I struggled with this at first, because 1) I had always served in Children’s Ministry and 2) because I had always served within the church. But the Lord showed me that it was not about where I served, it was about Who I served that mattered most to Him.
John chapter 13 gives us the perfect example of what it means to be a servant, to serve the body and to work for the Kingdom. In this chapter, the disciples are all gathered around with Jesus at the Last Supper. John tells us that after supper Jesus takes a towel and some water and begins to wash their feet.
“Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciple’s feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.” John 13:3-5
Jesus, God in the flesh, lays aside His garments and humbles Himself before the disciples; one by one He washes their feet. After He finishes washing all their feet He puts His garments back on and sits down. Then He says to them and to us today, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.” (John 13:12-15)
Jesus served the disciples. They were in a little room having dinner and Jesus served them, He served them right where they were. That is what it means to me to serve. This picture of Jesus bending down, laying aside Himself and meeting the needs of those around Him is what it means to me to serve God. Serving God does not have to be in a particular ministry, it does not have to be in a church building. We serve the body of Christ when we pray for one another; we serve when we make a meal and take it to a sick sister in the Lord. We can serve God and do the work of His Kingdom in so many ways; we must not limit ourselves to certain ministries within the church.
It is not about where we serve, but Who we serve. We serve God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. We serve them daily. A very dear sister in the Lord is going through a trial right now and said to me that she feels like she is not doing anything for the Lord. She questioned her purpose, she asked what it was she was doing for God, because right now she is so burdened with trial that she can barely function day to day. I reminded her of all that she was doing. She was in constant daily prayer for her brothers and sisters in the Lord. She has been a constant encouragement to me; she helps teach the at our women’s study every week, and so much more. There are more ways to serve God and work for His Kingdom that do not require us to be within a building on a Sunday to do it. Besides, our service and our work for His kingdom should not be just on Sunday’s- it should be every day.
Jesus says to us in John 13 that He has given us an example, that as he has done, we should also do. Jesus met the disciples at their lowest, their dirtiest. (Feet were pretty dirty and dusty back in those day- most likely the dirtiest part of the body) But Jesus bent down and met them where they were. He met them at their greatest need. Remember it’s not about where we serve, but Who we serve that matters. We serve a great and mighty God who made Himself low and washed the filth off the feet of His disciples. He took off His garments, He prepared Himself, and then He served them. We need to be doing the same.
There are so many people out there in the world and yes, even in our churches that need the love of Jesus Christ to be shed abroad in their hearts. There are people all over that need their feet washed too. For years I thought that to serve God and work for His Kingdom you had to do it within a church setting, but God has since shown me that working for Him is more than just Sunday school and cleaning toilets. I am not saying that we should not serve within our churches, but we must not limit ourselves to that particular building. We are called to serve the Church, not just in the church.
Serving God means that we serve Him right where we are. If you have that desire to pray for people, then serve God through prayer. If you have that gift of hospitality, then serve God by opening up your home for fellowship. If you have the gift of evangelism, then serve God by sharing the gospel with others. We don’t have to be serving inside the walls of our church buildings to serve God; we can serve Him right where we are. It’s not about where we serve, but Who we serve. Amen?