Servant or Served?

Posted: February 12, 2012 in Thoughts from the Elders

“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.”

1 Corinthians 13:11

As my family celebrated Christmas this year I realized that  my perspective has changed now that  I am growing older.  When it came to gifts, as a child I was focused on what I was going to receive.  Will I get what I want?  Will I be thrilled or disappointed?  Will my needs and wants be met?  But, now that I have children and grandchildren my perspective on gifts has radically changed.  I still enjoy getting gifts, mostly as a symbol that someone cares about me, but, now my joy is in giving.  The wonder in a child’s eye, that smile of appreciation from a loved one or the laughter over a silly gift are the things that truly bring me joy at Christmas.

As I contemplated writing this blog, which is a first for me, I thought how this concept stands true for our involvement in the fellowship of our church.  When we are seeking Christ or as a new Christian, our perspective is that of what can I find here that will fulfill my needs?  Will the music stir my soul?  Will the sermon bring my focus on what I need in my life?  Will I be accepted by the others at church? Will I have fun?

It is important in all our lives to think about what it means to mature in Christ.   Maturing in Christ is a process of taking the focus off of ourselves and placing it on Jesus.  Jesus told us to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow him.   No longer is it our will, but his.  We stop asking what we can get and asking what we can give.  My wants are replaced with other’s needs.   What is best for me is over ridden by  what is best for those seeking to find or grow in Jesus.   We become part of the solution instead of part of the problem.

This isn’t always easy.  It means giving up things and taking risks.  It means getting up out of our comfortable pews and  putting our shoulder to the plow.  It can mean little things like sliding over from our favorite isle seat to allow someone new to sit down.  It can mean thanking God that our young people in our service instead of complaining about the way they dress. It is a shift from selfishness to selflessness.

The next time you are in a worship service and a song is sung that may not be your favorite, stop for a minute.  Look around and find a face of someone who is new to the faith or maybe someone who has been through some rough times.  Look for the adoration in their eyes and the joy on their faces.   What may not be best for me may be the answer to prayer for someone else.   Who am I to quench the Holy Spirit?

The church is not a one stop spiritual shopping center to fulfill our personal desires.  It is a family desperately in need of each member doing its part to spread the love of Jesus to a hurting and dying world.  As we mature in Christ we must shift our thinking to understand and experience the joy of giving of ourselves to others.

Servant or served?

Philippians 2:3-8
3Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. 5Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Written by Ken Stoller (GCC Elder)

  1. Tom Waugh says:

    The truly marvelous thing about what you have said here, Ken, is that in the giving, we receive so much more than we give. There is so much joy in serving others. One caveat is that we must also remember that others receive joy from serving us. Be a gracious receiver as well as a generous giver.

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