It’s Our Turn to Serve the Way Jesus Served
Isn’t it true? We live in a world where the belief seems to be that the higher we climb the corporate ladder, the more money we have and the more power we accumulate, therefore the more influence we have to get others to serve us… to serve me. But Jesus had a position of power and authority. God had put all things under His authority, and even in the highest position Jesus stepped down to serve others. Jesus washed feet. Think about that for a moment.
“The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve…”
Matthew 20:28 NIV
Once we begin with prayer, listen and eat with others, there is a good chance that God will reveal ways we can best show love and serve the person or people God is asking us to bless. Jesus modeled these practices for us. And if it feels a bit daunting, or you’re uncertain of just how to serve a neighbor, consider some of the questions below to get you started.
Discern How To Serve Your Neighbor
Once you identify their needs, SERVE THEM.
Jesus modeled how to build bonds of friendship in a way that people feel loved. He provided the context of friendship and love that will many times create a sense of trust and understanding in you and how you can serve them. Oftentimes people aren’t as forward in sharing ways with what they need and how you may be able to serve them.
One of many tools to help us better understand not only our personal well-being, but one that also can help us gauge how our neighbors and friends are doing is by thinking through four key areas in life—R-P-M-S—that comes from scripture when describing Jesus’ own personal development in Luke 2:52:
“And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.”
Relational: Jesus grew in favor with men.
Physical: Jesus grew in stature.
Mental: Jesus grew in wisdom by developing his mental capacity.
Spiritual: Jesus grew in favor of God.
How is my neighbor doing...
- How is their home life?
- How is their family, marriage or dating life going?
- Do they have close friends for support?
- How is their work going?
- How is their personal health? Are they well?
- Do they exercise regularly?
- Do they mention trouble sleeping?
- Are they attentive to healthy eating habits?
- Do they show signs of depression or anxiety?
- Are they taking steps to learn and grow in new and different ways?
- Do I notice any unhealthy thoughts patterns?
- Have they shared their beliefs?
- Are they spiritually curious?
- Have they asked you about your personal beliefs?
- Are they willing to have you pray for them?
Serving Alongside Your Neighbor
The missional practice of serving doesn’t have to consist of you solely serving your neighbor; it also can be you and your neighbor serving alongside one another right in your community. Serving together can be an impactful bonding experience.
Ideas to Serve Locally in Your Community
Below are a few suggestions on ways you can serve right here in Harford County, Maryland:
- Second Saturday Serve: Bring a friend or two or three and serve the community in various ways on the second Saturday of each month. No skills required, just heart. Serving projects for all ages, skill levels and interests. No need to register, just show up. Details here.
- Health Fair & Food Giveaway: Help provide fresh and nutritious foods to community members in need and help connect community members to a broad spectrum of information and service providers for a better quality of life. Anyone can serve. Sign up to serve here.
- Backpack Blessings: This is a unique program designed to feed elementary school children whose families qualify for free and reduced-priced meals during the week, but may have little to no food on the weekends. Click here to find out more details about how you can support this program.
- Welcome One Emergency Shelter: This is the only full-service, year-round shelter for homeless men and women in Harford County, Maryland. Participate in providing meals for these residents on the 23rd and 24th of each month. Details here.
Read, Watch, Listen
Links to media, books or podcast to learn more.
B.L.E.S.S., by Dave and Jon Ferguson
The Reluctant Witness: Discovering the Delight of Spiritual Conversations, by Don Evert
From Ben: “I love this book because it changed my perspective entirely on how people who are not Christians think and feel about having spiritual conversations. And that changed how I think about it and engage it now.”
Joining Jesus on His Mission: How to be an Everyday Missionary, by Greg Finke
From Ben: “This book is really helpful in firing us up to see how exciting it is when we look at our lives as joining Jesus in the work HE is already doing. You will feel called and compelled to live on mission.”
Church Forsaken: Practicing Presence in Neglected Neighborhoods
Serve | Life on Mission
Serve the World | Schooled
When it comes to serving God has either SENT you to the people you are to serve or He is going to SEND you to the people you are to serve. Take a moment to reflect on this in your life.
- Who is in your path today? Take a moment and allow God to bring someone to mind. Maybe it’s one of the eight neighbors you identified on your “Who Is My Neighbor” Map during the first practice of Begin with Prayer.
- What do you need to put down, to set aside, to bless someone through serving them? What would it look like to put down your phone or set aside your pride to serve or to simply be intentional about making time to love others in everyday ways: in your home, in your neighborhood or at work?
- Think about the person, or people, God is calling you to serve. How can you serve them personally? How can you serve them with dignity or in a way to show that you understand their needs beyond maybe some obvious ones?
Share Your Story
How is God challenging and changing you as you BLESS those around you?