In his letter to the Philippians, Paul talks to them about Timothy who has been such a big help to Paul.
19 I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. 20 I have no one else like him, who takes a genuine interest in your welfare. 21 For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. 22 But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel. 23 I hope, therefore, to send him as soon as I see how things go with me. 24 And I am confident in the Lord that I myself will come soon.
25 But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs. 26 For he longs for all of you and is distressed because you heard he was ill. 27 Indeed he was ill, and almost died. But God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow. 28 Therefore I am all the more eager to send him, so that when you see him again you may be glad and I may have less anxiety. 29 Welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honor men like him, 30 because he almost died for the work of Christ, risking his life to make up for the help you could not give me.Philippians 2:19-30
For a Christian, being a servant is not an option. If you’re not serving Christ, don’t call yourself a Christian.
We can see in the passage above that Timothy has been helping Paul who is in prison. He is concerned about the church in Philippi and Timothy shares in that concern. Helping to spread the gospel is Kingdom work that requires dedication to studying the Word. The knowledge gained from study helps him teach others about God’s character and he’s able to share the scriptures with them.
Epaphroditus is another helper that has been there to help Paul and to keep him informed about the church in Philippi. This gives Paul peace.
Living your life to imitate Timothy or Epaphroditus would mean you are serving Christ. So what are some practical things we can do to serve others? Serving doesn’t have to been some complicated big deal. It’s just helping others any way that you can, often by performing simple tasks.
When I was about 10 years old, there was an elderly couple who lived across the road from us. They lived down a long lane and the woman would struggle to walk the distance to get the mail every day. Her husband was bedridden by then and all the chores fell on her. I decided that I could help her out by getting the mail for her and saving her the long walk. It wasn’t a big deal for me, but she appreciated it. People notice your heart by the way you treat them.
Jesus came to serve.Mark 10:45
The heart of a servant is cultivated or shaped by imitating others who serve. You want your kids to be service minded? Show them what it means to serve and they will learn it very naturally. Look around and see where you can be helpful and in your kindness they will see God in you.
A servant’s heart is centered on the heart of Christ. Being a servant can’t be done if your heart is only half into it. You can’t be just a little bit of a servant.
God is a jealous God. Paul, before he met Jesus, was a soldier who hated Christians. He killed them thinking he was doing the right thing. But politics and culture can’t overrule God. Your loyalties must 100% belong to God, put nothing before him.
On the Road to Damascus, Paul met Jesus. That was the beginning of the change in Paul’s heart. He submitted everything to Jesus. Jesus became the focus of everything he did.
Have you made the commitment to center your life on serving God? It took me a long time to come to that place where I could honestly pray to God to place me where he wanted me and tell me what he wanted me to do. Since making that commitment, God has kept me on the edge. I have been pushed out of my comfort zone so many times in the past 3 or 4 years. Just when I think God’s got me where he wants me, he puts something else on my heart. He knows me better than anyone and he knows my strengths. He’s not going to put something on my heart that I can’t handle with his help. I can trust that he will help me figure it out.
Constantly captivated with Christ; not an idea of what he can do for us, but to share his heart for others.
As a servant:
- You will serve people that you don’t like, but God calls you to love them anyway.
- You don’t have to agree with everyone, but agree to disagree.
- Share God’s heartfelt love with them. Love must come above all else. (People can tell the difference between faked love and God’s heartfelt love)
- Show genuine concern. Your motive always shines.
- You can work cooperatively with those you don’t like.
- You are centered on serving God; go wherever he sends you; be willing to serve anywhere.
- Sacrifice anything in order to serve Christ.
You want to know how to get to that place?
- What are you holding onto that is getting in the way of your commitment to Christ?
- What is keeping you from making that commitment?
- Expect to be attacked when you follow Christ.
A lot of people serve as a charade to serve themselves. This is not what we are called to. God knows your heart and what is real.
Sometimes people who claim to be Christians say they love. But, they judge each others first. I think we need to be very real here and own up to our own weaknesses and sins. We aren’t perfect and we shouldn’t expect others to be either. Give grace and openly share God’s love.
Healing from hurt comes when you give God your skeletons. That’s where God can really work in your heart to grow your faith.
The greatest danger is to enlist Christ to serve ourselves.
We are all fighting at least two battles:
- what we’re willing to share
- what we decide to keep to ourselves
This causes us to hurt others and protect ourselves.
- we say something hurtful
- or we don’t say anything at all (causing a rift between us and the other person)
We push the hurt down until we can’t take it any more. Don’t keep it bottled inside. Find someone you can talk to and talk about your hurt.
You don’t have to serve alone. Ask someone to come alongside you. Planning something big, gather a team around you and ask your leadership to pray for your service.
Carry each others burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.Galatians 6:2
Sometimes God pricks our hearts with something he wants us to do. You wonder if this is really from God. I tell you this from experience, if it returns and is in line with scripture it is most likely from God. If you ignore it, it won’t go away. He can be very persistent! I have been overcome with gratitude, love, and filled to overflowing when others have come alongside me to fulfill God’s call. He has so much more for you than you can imagine if you will only trust him!
I pray that you will rise to the call of God in your life! Ask others to pray and come alongside you and see what God will do when you let him lead you…you will be amazed at his plan because it’s way bigger than anything you can imagine!