Last year I had the opportunity to feed the homeless one night. My friend had asked if I wanted to join him in handing out food along with sharing the Gospel, and I accepted. It was a simple team of just the two of us, and we humbly bought a few basic meals with the intention of giving them out to the first couple of homeless people we came across. Little did we know what God had in store for us that night. Put shortly, we had an amazing encounter with the Holy Spirit, which lead to us starting a full time, campus-based ministry to serve the homeless community around our school.
Yet, even greater than the corporate change that night brought to our school and city’s community was the change of my heart. I was struggling that week with a lot on my plate. There was the stress of studying for some difficult finals, and dealing with the emotional healing of some very painful things in my past, which happened to return that week. To be frank, I didn’t want to serve at all when my friend had asked me, but something in me said yes to his invite. Well after the experience we had with God that night, I found my place in the community of believers, and God reaffirmed my identity with who I am in Him.
In my life, the catalyst which radically changed my theology was service to God. Although growing in theological knowledge at an institution that fosters Christian education, and even encountering experiences with God that has brought wisdom about theological matters, I can truly say the aspect of life that has brought the most growth in my spiritual walk is the fulfillment of the call to servanthood.
As Christians living in the world we do, it can be easy to allow service to fall to the back burner of our lives. Often times, a busy schedule jam packed with activities and responsibilities can pull our hearts away from serving God and the people around us. Or, we can dive so deeply into our theology that we lose the fundamental aspect of servanthood to the core of our Christian life. Or quite possibly, we feel as though we are too broken or not worthy enough to serve God because of sin in either the past or present. Although these reasons for us to fall away from our call to serve are present, it is easy to overcome these minor obstacles when we acknowledge the power held in servanthood.
Looking at who Jesus is we see that He is the perfect Adam, or rather the true meaning of what the entity of humanness was created to be. Therefore,
if Jesus’ personhood is a model of what human character should be, so His actions are a model to those who follow Him.
Jesus came as our Rabbi, our Teacher, and He most often taught by example. At the forefront of His message was the idea that the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve. His character overflowed with powerful humility, and His actions engaged putting Himself last and serving the people who were considered the lowest of society. As students under His teaching, we are to live by His example and implement His character as our own.
Service is an outward expression of the depth of Christ’s love poured out into our hearts.
It is when we follow in Jesus’ footsteps in the act of humbling ourselves to serve as He did that we truly fulfill our Divine calling in the likeness of Christ. Serving is the natural reaction of the human heart to give the love of Christ when it has an undeniable experience with God’s intimate love. It is theologically and unerringly impossible for the follower of Christ to keep the love of Christ to himself or herself.
Therefore, it is this service to God and others that completes our humanity. It is human nature from the fundamental core to be loved, but also to love. Every one of us desires God’s love because it is part of the human design to be in a healthy relationship with our Creator. Though being loved alone does not fulfill our humanness. It is not until we reflect the essence of being loved by participating with others in the fellowship of amicable action that we truly find who we were first intended to be. God made the world to live in peace, and to live in harmony because of the love He gave humans to act upon.
When we act as the hands and feet of God during a time of humble servanthood, we participate in the retroversion of restoring the world to God’s intended purpose.
I challenge you this New Year to pray a dangerous but ultimately fulfilling prayer of humility. Ask God to truly give you the heart of Christ for the broken world around you that so desperately needs the hands and feet of God. Ask Him to reveal to you those around you who need His love, and ask for opportunities to serve Him daily. You will see the hand of God move, and you will feel His heart beat as you begin to do so, because it is in the humble act of servanthood where we find our value and purpose.