In Karis Church, we seek to get back to basics and learn to abide in Christ. One way we're doing that is by reading together through Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald S. Whitney. The book is available online or at the Imago Center. Read Katie McCune's thoughts after reading the chapter titled, "Serving...for the Purpose of Godliness."
Serving for the Kingdom
Serving, to me, seems to be one of the most overlooked of all spiritual disciplines. I think most of us would call it more of an obligation than a discipline. But, when you truly begin to see serving as a spiritual discipline, it really changes the way you treat it.
Serving is called a discipline because it is a means of sanctification for believers. Whoever said serving is easy? Well, it’s not, at least for the majority of us, and it certainly isn't for me. For many, there are a range of emotions, obstacles, and sins attached to the idea of serving others. Laziness, pride, lack of time, or inconvenience may be a few of those. But it just so happens that, as believers, we are called to be servants. We do, after all, worship the greatest servant of all time: Jesus Christ.
In this chapter on serving, my mind kept comparing serving with tithing, and I think they are similar in many ways. I really think you could boil down Whitney’s main points of serving much like you would tithing: give your time (serve) sacrificially, systematically, and cheerfully.
Like I said earlier, whoever said serving is easy? Many of us have busy lives, have families, work full time jobs, go to school full time, or are constantly pouring ourselves out for our spouse and/or children that we feel like we have little left to give those around us, whether it be our friends, our Missional Communities, or our church body on a Sunday morning. But, as Whitney pointed out, we need to give our first-fruits to the Lord: “He doesn't want servants who offer Him the leftovers after their other commitments.” That’s what I call convicting.
As assumed with the word “discipline,” serving should be done regularly and not “occasionally or when it’s convenient or self-serving.” While I would encourage everyone to get involved serving in some capacity at a Sunday morning Gathering, there are so many other areas where you can serve. Help a friend in need, cook a meal for an exhausted family, help your neighbor out in the yard, help clean up dishes after your missional community meal - the possibilities really are endless. As Whitney said, “how can any professing Christian think it acceptable to sit on the spiritual sidelines and watch others do the work of the kingdom?” Don’t leave it up to just the elders, deacons, or your Missional Community leader. Take some initiative, jump in, and get your hands dirty!
This is often where I stumble as a servant. I can set aside the time to serve and do it regularly, but I can’t always promise it is with a loving or thankful heart. We have been given so much from God undeservedly; the least we can do is to serve his Kingdom. We should be reminded that serving God is a privilege. We should be serving out of an overflow of love for others since we are called, as believers, to love others more than ourselves. What more practical way to live this out than through serving others?
Serving is hard work; I can understand why many shy away from it. We are lazy. We don’t have “time.” It’s inconvenient. We may not think we are gifted at anything. But we shouldn't let these things keep us from serving. It simply forces us to be more creative and more intentional about our serving. As Whitney points out, “Service that costs nothing accomplishes nothing.” Through my service for Karis, my family, and my friends, I've seen many wonderful things happen - big and small. You certainly don’t have to go to extravagant lengths to experience the fulfillment of serving. It’s in the day-to-day, the natural outpourings of your love and time that you will begin to see the fruit of the Spirit in your own spiritual life and in the lives of those around you. Will you join me to cultivate your servant’s heart?
Questions to answer
Are you serving regularly, and, if not, what steps can you take to change that? What is the thing that is keeping you from serving? Do you serve out of love, joy, and gladness? How can you be more intentional in your serving?
Article written by Katie McCune. Katie is our deacon over Sunday Gatherings, which will multiply to two Gatherings beginning on Easter Sunday. Katie is wife to Daniel and mom to Liam.
Read all the posts in our #Abide series here.