Thursday, September 13, 2012

The "Serving" Mix Up

Serving is a funny thing. As a matter of fact, I don't think anyone really knows what serving is anymore. Jesus said if you want to be the greatest, you must be a servant of all. That means that we've got to serve in order to be great. No disputing that. But, here's where the confusion comes in... What is "serving"?
  • I understand the Jet Blue is now "serving" the Charleston airport. So, is serving about low cost passenger jets?
  • I know people that are "serving" time. Is that what serving is...jail time?
  • I know restaurants that are "serving" new selections of food. So, is this anything to do with a meal?
  • I know soldiers that are "serving" their last tour of duty. Thanks for your service, but is this an army thing?
I think the word "serving" has become way too generalized. It can mean anything from prison to airplanes and lots in-between. That is why I think we no longer understand what it means to serve others. By way of good marketing, we think we are being served when we pay someone to do something for us. By politically correct language, we think that someone going to jail is somehow serving. By media influences through the newspapers and cable tv, we think that the meals we are buying is somehow a service to us. (Not that my waiters and waitresses don't have the right attittude. Nearly all are wonderful!) My point is, serving it's not just about being paid or paying for a job well done.

Here's my thought. Maybe serving is not something we are paying to have done for us, but is that which costs us time, effort, and resources. Maybe good service is not about giving someone a good day's work, for a decent wage, but it maybe it should be giving yourself to others with no expectation of return. Maybe serving is less about how long someone spends in jail, and more about spending and being spent for those who are imprisoned by sin and circumstances.

It took me a few pages, but when I googled "serving," I did find this:

Couple Honored for Serving Others

I found this article about a elderly couple who gave of themselves without expecting any kind of repayment. They loved, so they gave. Here's a quote from an article in their hometown paper, the Shelby Star. At a posthumous presentation for the husband, this was said of them both:

"Your generous acts of kindness reach far beyond food and show values of compassion and love..."

Sound familiar? You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving. I truly believe that it was God's love that compelled Him to give. "God so loved, He gave..." (John 3:16).

That's where we become like God. It is not a part of being godly...if you do not serve others, you cannot be godly. I came to terms with that many years ago after an epiphany at a Promise Keeper's Weekend in Tennessee. For the first time, I saw my role as a pastor, as a husband, and even as a father as a servant. It changed me. I hope for the better.

After all, when we look at the condescension passage in Philippians 2, we do not see a king lording his authority over his subjects. We see a servant willing to give everything, even his own life...for others...for you...for me.

Instead He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave, taking on the likeness of men. And when He had come as a man in His external form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death-even to death on a cross. (Philippians 2:7, 8 HCSB)

That's a servant; that's my Jesus. Lord, may it be me...

"Make your attitude that of Christ Jesus" (Philippians 2:5).

Pastor Trey Rhodes for our website for most audio messages for our latest updates on ministry and events


1 comment:

  1. I've never thought about the ways that we misuse "Service". It's no wonder that the HCSB decided to use the word slave. That gets the original intent across better, even in today's language.