Summary: A series of sermons from Richard Foster’s book "Celebration of Discipline." A top 10 book for any Christian!
CELEBRATION OF DISCIPLINE: SERVICE
William Law made a lasting impact upon 18th century England with his book, A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life. In it, Law urges this Christian that every day should be viewed as a day of humility. And how does he suggest that we do this? By learning to serve others. Law understood that it is with the discipline of service that one gains humility. If we want humility, he urges us to, “give in to all the weaknesses and infirmities of your fellow-man, cover their frailties, love their excellences, encourage their virtues, relieve their wants, rejoice in their prosperities, be compassionate in their distress, receive their friendship, overlook their unkindness, forgive their malice, be a servant of servants, and agree to do the lowest offices to the lowest of mankind.”
What a tall order! It is this tall order of service and humilty to which we look at today. This, like all the other disciplines, are tools to aid us in our spiritual lives. This, like all the other disciplines, brings us freedom. Service brings freedom to enjoy divine grace in your life, a sense of unhurried peace, and a deeper love for God.
READ JOHN 13:1-17
I would like to take you back to that night of the Passover Feast. The disciples and Jesus had gathered to eat this festive meal. There was, however, and issue that needed to be addressed. When they came in, there was no servant there to wash their feet, for it was just the 13 of them. The only people who washed feet were the lowest of the servants and there were none of those kind of people in the room. So, they sat reclining at the table wityh dirty smelly feet. No one rose to do the worst job, until Jesus got up and showed all of them what service and greatness were all about.
I. SINCERE vs. INSINCERE SERVICE
I would like to begin looking at service by taking a look at some aspects and truths of sincere service. It is easy, I think, to be a servant for the wrong reasons and in the wrong manner. As Christians, we should pattern our service after Christ… who showed us how to be a servant by His life, ministry, and death. I want to look at four truths about service and discuss them so that we have a more rounded view about the Biblical ideal for service.
A. Sincere service comes from God- true service comes from the desire placed in your heart by God Almighty. We should serve out of the tugging on our hearts by the Holy Spirit and not because some government official wants to “help those types of people.” God will show us where He wants us and er need to be available to Him. God and His purposes should be the motivator when in comes to service.
B. Sincere service needs no external rewards- Insincere service needs to know that people see and appreciate the efforts made. Insincere service needs human applause. It is quite evident in Scripture that true service needs none of these things, but only needs the divine nod of approval. I think it appropriate to use the examples of prayer and fasting found in the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus instructs the disciples that when a person prays for public approval or fasts for the same reason, “they have received their reward in full.” The reward for service comes from God, not man.
C. Sincere service does not pick and choose- Mark 9:35 says we are to be the servant of all. We as Christians are bound to serve all people whether high and powerful or low and defenseless. Black, white, hispanic, poor, rich, beautiful, ugly, insane, good hearted, and any other category of person you can think up is tp be served. We are bound to serve all people and administer medicine to physical bodies, emotions, and spirits. That is the example of Christ.
D. Sincere service happens whether we “feel” that we want to or not- True service happens whenever and whereever there is a need. True service is a lifestyle and a way of thinking. Feelings never enter into it because our feelings can often be a hindrance to service. If service becomes your lifestyle, then Satan will not have an opportunity to make you “fell like not serving today.”
II. CHOOSING TO SERVE vs. CHOOSING TO BE A SERVANT
You may be thinking to yourself, “If I do that, people will take advantage of me and walk all over me.” Right here we must see the difference between choosing to serve and choosing to be a servant. When we choose to serve, we are still in charge. We decide whom we will serve and when and how. If we are in charge, we will worry about someone taking advantage of us or stepping all over us. However, when we choose to be a servant, we give up the perrogative to be in charge. We become vulnerable and surrender the right to choose who and how we serve.