Summary: 3 essential characteristics of a servant attitude
LOVE BY SERVING
Bill Wilson pastors an inner city church in New York City. His mission field is a very violent place. He himself has been stabbed twice as he ministered to the people of the community surrounding the church. Once a Puerto Rican woman became involved in the church and was led to Christ. After her conversion she came to Pastor Wilson and said, "I want to do something to help with the church’s ministry." He asked her what her talents were and she could think of nothing -- she couldn’t even speak English -- but she did love children. So he put her on one of the church’s buses that went into neighborhoods and transported kids to church. Every week she performed her duties. She would find the worst-looking kid on the bus, put him on her lap and whisper over and over the only words she had learned in English: "I love you. Jesus loves you."
After several months, she became attached to one little boy in particular. The boy didn’t speak. He came to Sunday School every week with his sister and sat on the woman’s lap, but he never made a sound. Each week she would tell him all the way to Sunday School and all the way home, "I love you and Jesus loves you."
One day, to her amazement, the little boy turned around and stammered, “I---I---I love you too.” Then he put his arms around her and gave her a big hug and whispered in her ear “and I love Jesus too!". That was 2:30 on a Sunday afternoon. Four hours later he was found dead. His own mother in a drug induced rage had beaten him to death and thrown his body in the trash. "I love you and Jesus loves you." Those were some of the last words this little boy heard in his short life -- from the lips of a Puerto Rican woman who could barely speak English. This woman gave her one talent to God and because of that a little boy who perhaps had never really heard the word "love" in his own home, experienced and responded to the love of Christ.
We are continuing our series I Love My Church. Today I want to talk about the fact that one of the ways we demonstrate love for one another is by serving one another.
1 Pet 4:10 Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms.
This single verse reminds us of some important truths. First, it reminds us that all of us are gifted. You may think you have nothing to offer, but the truth is that if you are a believer in Jesus Christ then God has supernaturally gifted you to serve. Secondly, it reminds us that our gifts are not given to us for our own benefit. God gave you gifts and talents and abilities and experiences for the benefit of other people, to be used to serve others. Jesus has called us to serve one another.
Matt 20:25 Jesus called them together and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 26 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave-- 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."
To be a follower of Jesus means that we seek to serve like He did. All of us should have a heart of service. Your ability determines your area of service, but your attitude determines the maturity and effectiveness of that ministry. Today I want us to look at 3 essential characteristics of a servant attitude:
1. Serving Means Being AVAILABLE -
Serving like Jesus means that you make yourself available for service. One day Jesus was walking down the road to Jericho and some blind men start yelling at him.
Matt 20:30 Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!" 31 The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!" 32 Jesus stopped and called them. "What do you want me to do for you?" he asked.
It says here that Jesus STOPPED. If you want to be used by God you must be willing to be available. In life there are many opportunities that will yell out at us while we are passing by. You must be willing to be interrupted. Most of Jesus’ ministry and most of Jesus’ miracles were interruptions. All the people he healed – the blind man, the lame man, the paralyzed man, the dead child – all were interruptions. His first miracle was an interruption at a wedding. It says here that ‘Jesus stopped’ and allowed Himself to be interrupted.