“Investing in Others”
Becoming a People of Service
One of the joys of my work is the privilege of being in different churches seeing and hearing about what congregations are attempting to do to be the serving hands of Jesus in their community and beyond. Even more rewarding is when I hear from people whose lives have been impacted by the servanthood of others. After many years of following Christ, I am observing that most people come to follow Jesus not because of what Jesus’ followers say, how we vote, or because we can defend the faith well (as if it needs a defence). Rather, it is my observation that people follow Christ because someone loved them enough for who they were to serve, love and listen to them.
Woven throughout the story of Jesus is this idea of serving and loving people within our community of faith and then beyond. In Matthew 20 Jesus defines greatness by the act of serving others. In Phil. 2:5 we are told to have the same attitude as Christ Jesus who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant. In John 13, Jesus demonstrates this divine servanthood by washing the feet of his disciples on the night of his betrayal, trial and ultimate death. And then, in his final instructions to his disciples (John 14 – 18), he calls on them to love one another to the point of being willing to give one’s life for someone (the ultimate act of servanthood). This concept of serving and loving others is at the heart of the good news of Jesus. We as his followers are to live lives of servanthood.
So it is a joy to see people in our churches living this out. In the past month I have heard stories of people at Be in Church of Canada congregations:
- Helping refugees continue to adjust to life in Canada
- Visiting people in prison
- Walking with persons just out of prison
- Helping single moms look after their cars, and provide a day of care where they are honoured and appreciated
- Packing kits for Mennonite Central Committee that serve displaced persons and people of need in Canada and around the world.
- Sacrificially giving to support a child’s education in Nepal through the Peace program (www.canadianbic.ca/peacenepal).
- Spending time with people experiencing grief because of a death in their family
- Walking with someone who is experiencing life with dementia or memory loss and just needs to know they are loved.
This list doesn’t include the people who serve at a church teaching Sunday school, leading a home church, helping people find seats, making coffee, shovelling sidewalks, or mowing lawns. It doesn’t include the time spent writing notes of encouragement or appreciation. It certainly doesn’t include the ways in which followers of Jesus live out the value of serving others in our schools, our workplaces and within our neighbourhoods. It is in the world that we can and do serve the world.
A few weeks ago, I was in a church that had framed chicken wire and people could write on a piece of paper their need, concern or desire and roll the paper up and put it in the framed chicken wire, knowing that someone would be praying for them. This simple practice of sharing needs and then praying for our sisters and brothers, our neighbours and our coworkers for our families and our friends is a wonderful example of what it means to practise the call of Jesus to live as one who serves others.
As the Be in Christ Church of Canada, let’s attempt to be known as a people who love to serve those around us in our homes, in our communities of faith, in our neighbourhoods, in our workplaces and around the world.
— Doug Sider is the Executive Director at Be In Christ Church of Canada.
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