“… just as the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve …” Matthew
We take our cue of service from Christ our Lord. If there was ever a world to be completely curved in on self and whining and wanting and demanding to be served, we are living in it. However, this observation has been repeated throughout history by Christians encountering a culture ever bent on serving ourselves.
What is appealing by way of the Gospel narratives of Jesus is how little patience or tolerance he has for any such attitude or self-focus. Where in the stories of Jesus do we find a pat on the back for giving excuses to hold back service or for the disciples’ complaining that their expectations are unmet?
Christ came to serve. He said over and over to his disciples and others, “Come, follow Me!” And people like you and me have been so summoned and commissioned ever since by that higher authority. Like it or not, we are not like the world around us who hasn’t yet heard that call or whose heart hasn’t been captured by the passion of Jesus to serve others first.
We are a body of believers who aren’t permitted to ask, “How can I be better served?” We are a people empowered by the Holy Spirit to say, “Lord, how can we serve the Gospel and bring new people in to know you and love you?” “What are you calling us /me to do next for you?” “I’ll do whatever you want!”
In this body the Church, everyone is called to serve. And that is a good thing.
The God who calls also equips his people for service. God doesn’t wait for us to be ready and geared up for service. God doesn’t wait for our timing to be just right when he calls. God’s way is to call first and then equip us as we serve so that we know the whole thing comes from God alone. Out of our comfort zone is heeding that call.
Our holy calling is not so much how holy we live and go about serving the Gospel, but where the call to serve comes from. The call transforms us, not the other way around. It calls us out of ourselves and makes us depend on Christ alone.
It has always been the case that left to ourselves we want to be served and taken care of and respected and loved in this world. We want to be recognized that we are doing important work for Christ. But the power of our church’s witness to Christ and his freeing Word is to follow our Lord’s way. It may not look right or make sense in our world today. Selfless service never has.
Blessed servants of Christ, arise! We serve a radical God!