Serving Makes A Difference
The Hardest Week of My Life
In 2006 I went to Mexico. I went on this week-long mission trip with 20 or 30 other students. We spent money, got in a van, drove for hours, and sweated our brains out doing tireless labor building a church. And it was real work. My hands were a calloused, bloody mess, mixed with dried stucko all week long. I couldn’t sleep in the heat, on the cot, with the bugs. But I’ve never felt more spiritually “full” than during that week.
I experienced such reward, laughed so hard, and gained so much. Was I exhausted? Yes. But was I “poured into”? By the Holy Spirit Himself. My connection to Jesus got an upgrade. I felt a deep bond to the brothers and sisters around me. My receptivity to the Spirit during worship time was on a higher level. What was different? I was serving.
When I got back, I dove in, full force, serving on the worship band, set-up team, and even joined the youth leadership team. God was on a mission and I jumped in the passenger seat.
Pouring Out // Filled Up
What I found is that as I poured out I was filled up. Serving people inside and outside the church walls actually made me feel more poured into. I felt more included, I felt spiritually aligned, I enjoyed real investment from the youth pastor, and greater depth of relationships among my peers in the church.
“Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.” - John 13:3-5
Jesus was, far and above, the person who lived the most full-life in the history of the world. Yet, no one served more than Jesus. The New Testament teaches that in coming to Earth he “emptied himself by taking the form of a servant” (Phil 2:7).
For Jesus, to become human was an emptying act that led him to lead the fullest life imaginable. For us to be fully human, we must empty ourselves and serve.
Furthermore, Jesus served you. In Jesus, you have received the greatest service imaginable. His death on the cross was service to you--bringing you from death to life. Just sit in that. He served you! The King of all reality, stooped down to wash our feet. Not only that, he died for our sins! And no matter how much you serve you can never earn his grace. His grace costs far too much, and he alone earned it and gives it away to us for free. Yet, he invites us--who have been served by him--to become fully human like him by serving others in response to his grace.
There’s something about serving that helps us better understand, grow closer with, and be more like Christ.
What's beautiful and practical as we serve: it really does make a difference in people's lives. Every baptism, every decision made, every next-step a person takes with Jesus in our church is the result of countless humble servants getting involved in Jesus' mission by serving in a number of ways.
During Rise's most recent baptism, we saw several of our youth proclaim Jesus in the waters. You know what? I couldn't help but think of every one of the youth leaders, parents, and coutless volunteers who contributed to that moment in those teenager's lives. Every heart that was given to Jesus was touched by Jesus through the servants of the local church.
"But I Don't Have Time."
There’s truth to wanting to be wise with your time. Even as a pastor I need to be organized with my time and prioritize my family. But what I’ve found is that it's the seasons we’ve been on mission serving with the local church together that we feel the healthiest.
Don't let the idea that you don't have time hang you up. What time do you have to offer? There are a lot ways you can serve. From greeting at the door on Sunday to offering a meal to a new mom--there's countless ways to get involved that require varying amounts of time. We find time for anything we prioritize. I would contend that in eternity, we'll think serving Jesus in the local church was one of the best investments we ever made.
Are you serving with the local church? It’s vital for you and your family. If not, I’d encourage you to check out our Next Steps table this Sunday and find out how you can get plugged into serving on a team at Rise.