My family and I have the honor or serving in many ways in our church. We have a community group that meets in our home. We teach kiddos on Sunday. And I'm a neighbor, wife, mom, and now a homeschooler, so there are plenty of serving opportunities in my life.
But none of these opportunities to serve guarantees that I'm doing what this verse in Philippians commands: "have the mindset of Jesus Christ."
Jesus made Himself nothing. I often want to make myself look good, build my own reputation.
Jesus took on the very nature of a servant. When I'm under-appreciated, when I'm asked to do a little more than I really want to do, or when my tasks are completely hidden or taken for granted, my heart betrays me. A real servant doesn't need appreciation. She is available for any need, great or small. Nothing is below her.
I'm not just called to serve in ways I pick and choose. Jesus calls me to have His thinking and BE a servant in the many ways He sets in front of me.
This means that . . .
- All my serving is meaningful because it's for HIM.
- No matter what role I'm in, my identity is as a servant of King Jesus. I may organize a whole ministry or I may wipe my children's bottoms and break up sibling squabbles all day. Maybe I'm even unavailable or unfit in my season of life for any work I see as meaningful, but my identity doesn't change with my role.
- My identity comes from Jesus, my Master, not the things I'm serving. For example, I serve Jesus in writing this blog, but I don't serve this blog. It should never be my identity. This way of seeing myself keeps me from becoming imbalanced and out of sync with the rest Jesus calls me to (Matthew 11:28-30). I only take on the work He gives, and the remaining work is up to Him to take care of as the Master.
The truth is, only Jesus can work this heart in me, through His Spirit, as I respond to Him ("work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works you both to will and to do for His good pleasure" Philippians 2:12b-13). That's why, when my heart betrays me, I'm beginning to not try harder to "be better," but to admit my sinful heart and ask Jesus to forgive and change me.
What do you think? What does serving versus being a servant mean for you?
Jesus, work YOUR heart and mind in me. Help me be so taken with you and who You are, that my life mirrors yours in every situation. May a lifestyle and mindset of serving be my joy, as it was yours.