Living To Serve
“The Son of man came not to be served, but to serve” —Jesus
True life is ministry, People tend to think that they rise in this world by getting away from service, but the opposite is true. No person really begins to live at all, in any worthwhile sense, until selfishness dies. We should not be asking ourselves how we can use other people to advance our own interests and well-being, but how can we do good for them, serve them, and in some way be a blessing to them.
Be A Happiness-Maker
Stay at the feet of Christ until your heart overflows with love for everyone — even people whom you do not like. Then begin to think about them and live for them. Christ was always making people happy. You too can scatter happiness and grace as a flower scatters fragrance. It is a wonderful thing to put gladness and joy into the heart of another person.
Being A Friend Of Christ
Has Christ’s friendship been to you as close, personal, tender, and constant as the human friendships which you hold dearest? The close friends of Christ find no other influence so strong as his transforming their lives. In all of its purity and spotlessness, its strength and heroism, its gentleness and beauty, its grace and trust, his life shines a pattern for you. No one who has had Christ for a friend has failed to be blessed by him, or grown into a richer and nobler life.
Christianity is not an art or a science — it is a life. It is not learning and following a set of rules — it is growing into the fullness of a Christ-like heart. It is setting the Kingdom of Heaven inside of you. It is following the rule and authority of Christ. It is recognizing the supreme rule of love — “that you love one another, even as I have loved you.”
A Christian life is the personal reign of Christ in the heat of every one who accepts him. It is slow and it is hard, because the human heart loves the world. But given the opportunity, Christ can overcome the old and bring forth the new.
More than anything, the world needs people who bring happiness — there is too much sadness and anxiety around. The Bible is a book which can make people happy. The angel’s announcement of great tidings of joy; the story of the love of Christ changing darkness into light, despair into hope, tears into laughter, and sorrow into rejoicing.
The Christian is to bring happiness into the life of others, and we can do this in a thousand different ways: by being joyful ourselves, making our lives a sweet song, telling others the joy-filled gospel story, doing kindness, comforting the sorrowful, lifting the burdens of others, cheering the sad and weary, and scattering benedictions wherever we go.
A game which we humans like to play is feeding the distrust or the anger which one person has toward another. We like to approve or justify the person with whom we are speaking. But Christ calls us to be peacemakers. Christ tells us to fill the chasms and narrow the gulfs between people. None of the other beatitudes hold more radiance than that of the peacemaker because “they shall be called children of God.”
Saying What You Think
There are people in this world who say whatever they think and laugh about it because they “are being honest,” regardless of where the words land or whom they hurt. We have no right to say whatever we think, unless what we are thinking is in love. If we must express ugly thoughts, then go off somewhere that no one can hear. But otherwise, our neighbors heart should be filled with the love and grace of Christ.
Owed In Love
If Christ is truly in us, then we will see everyone we meet as someone to whom we owe a debt of love. Every person is sent into our life to receive comfort, strength, inspiration, a touch of beauty, a bit of cheer, or a quiet benediction. We may never do one thing which the world would consider great, or report in the news, but every word we speak, every act, every influence we have “in his name,” will be ministry of love which could last a lifetime — and beyond.
The old preachers used to say that we will stand before the judgment seat of Christ, and give account of our lives. If so, then we will not just defend the wrongs, the mistakes, and the bad decisions, but also the lost years, the discarded moments, and the times we wasted. God gave us gifts to use on his behalf, not to use them or work to develop them further, is to say you have no use for what God has provided.
Read the Parable of the Talents found in Matthew 25:14-30 or Luke 19:12-28; especially the end: “to everyone who has will more be given; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”
Blessings Through Mistakes
The mistakes we make, the wrongs we commit, are more often devastating to ourselves then they are to other people. But when we admit them to Christ, he can give birth to a new life inside of us. Christ can cause our misdeeds to yield blessings, and our misbehavior to be stepping stones on which a better life is reached. This is one of the true mysteries of grace, it can make all things work together for good.