We prayed, and now we're living for Christ, leading to telling others about Him. But how does that turn into actions that help others?
When I was young and not fully recognizing the importance of my faith, I didn't have a great attitude toward "serving." Now, I don't mean the actions, I mean the title. See, my perspective of serving as a Christian was that people get so focused on doing, doing, doing that they miss the point of knowing what they believe. While this can be true, it caused me to misunderstand the point of serving.
In junior high, I came to a true understanding of God's love for me. Worship music excited me, so I started getting involved with the junior high worship team, eventually getting to a place where I was the administrator for that team (at the ripe old age of 13). Moving on into high school, I stayed involved in worship, and was more than content with putting my effort into what I loved (i.e. music) and not into things I had no ability to perform (i.e. children's ministries).
One Sunday morning, all this changed. My best friend, who had been serving in children's ministries as media team director, was leaving for college and wanted me to come in to Kid's Church for the 11am service to learn how to operate the equipment in the hope that I would take a couple weeks and teach the kids. So, I agreed to come in for a couple of weeks and help the children's ministry team by teaching the kids how to run the media equipment.
Four years later, I'm still there. I had no plans to stay longer than three weeks, but I found myself stuck there because (1) my work was not complete, and (2) I loved it too much. Then, I found myself caring for those kids so much that my commitment level went through the roof. Eventually, when the kids moved to junior high, I left the high school department to work in the junior high department. And now, my whole life plans are based around continuing to help the teams and mentor the kids for the foreseeable future.
So there was this one moment when I was teaching something in Kid's Church about serving, and it hit me to the fullest extent: this is what serving truly is. It wasn't that I chose to do, do, do. I simply was acting on the attitude that there was no better place to expend my energy or spend my time. Now I am known throughout the church as one who serves, and that makes me very happy.
In John 13, the Bible talks about Jesus washing His disciples' feet. This is a very well-known story, but it is so layered with meaning that there is no way it could possibly have been written by someone other than God Himself. It's not just about Jesus serving; the symbolism is of regular sanctification of the daily sins, in contrast with the initial cleansing that happens when we first accept Christ. But the main point I want to take from this passage is summed up best in verse 16-17: "Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them. [NASB]"
And yes, serving makes me feel blessed, because there's nothing more fulfilling than doing things that could lead people into eternity in heaven. It's not about me. It's not about the reward I receive. It's about knowing that what I'm doing matters more than anything else I could possibly do. And therefore, this serving thing seems like less of a deliberate choice and more of a natural reaction. And it's a reaction that couldn't make me happier.
So look for opportunities to use your talents for the Lord, but also be open to the Lord's leading. He may just lead you into a job you may think you will fail at. But failure rarely happens if the Lord leads you somewhere. Turns out I had all the skills I needed to work with kids. Now it's the most important thing in my life.