As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. — 1 Peter 4:10
Serving others is not always easy. Since my earliest years, my father has lead a humanitarian organization called Samaritan’s Purse. One of the many great things that this group does is help with disaster response in the United States and around the world.
At any given time they have volunteers in the middle of areas that have been impacted by tornadoes, wildfires, floods, hurricanes, or earthquakes. They are putting tarps on roofs or pulling sewage-soaked carpet out of water-logged basements. They’re clearing downed trees or sifting through the ashes of a fire-consumed home.
It is hard, draining, backbreaking work. You wouldn’t know it, however, by looking at the faces of the volunteers. As you witness their countenances of joy, you can’t help but be impressed by their hearts of service.
This observation is not lost on the homeowners either. In many cases they are at their lowest points, having had everything they own in the world ripped from them in the disaster. They don’t know how they’re going to get through it, and then an army of strangers shows up to handle the work for them. And they’re smiling too!
As you can imagine, the homeowners are often curious why these volunteers leave the comfort of their homes to serve others, and it makes an incredible impact when they share that they’re helping in the name of Jesus. Time and time again homeowners have been open to having conversations about Christ simply because His followers cared enough to serve.
You don’t need to travel to Louisiana after a hurricane to make the same impact.
If you look around your neighborhood, you will see countless opportunities for exemplifying the love of Jesus.
As you do, keep a few things in mind.
First, remember to be humble. You shouldn’t be serving others for your own glory. In Matthew 6, Jesus explicitly warns against boasting about your work. Rather, humbly allow yourself to be used and trust that God is working through you.
Second, be sincere and genuine. If you’re trying to serve others with strings attached, you are doing it for the wrong reasons and may do more harm than good. Love and serve others unconditionally, and with a sincere heart.
Third, be consistent. While any amount of service is good, pray that God would give you the heart of a servant and provide opportunities for you to serve others. Your consistency will not only show others that your heart is truly in the right place, but it will also offer additional opportunities to share Christ’s love with those who need to hear it.
Finally, as we’re instructed in 1 Peter 3:15,
Always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you.
Don’t be surprised if the Holy Spirit uses your heart of service to lead people to Him.
What are one or two ways that you can show the love of Jesus to others by serving them?
Excerpted with permission from Redeemed by Will Graham, copyright William F. Graham, Jr.
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Sometimes we have the freedom and resources to fly off to another state or another country to serve others in crisis. And, that is wonderful! But it’s not always the case and that doesn’t mean we can’t serve right where we are. All year round, but especially during the holidays there are many opportunities. Join your church’s food drive. Deliver blankets to or serve meals at a homeless shelter. Give gift cards to a struggling single parent family anonymously. Deliver a Christmas tree to a family or senior who can’t afford one. Shovel a snowy driveway and front walkway for a neighbor, or if you’re in a warmer area mow the lawn or take the trash barrels in and out. Leave a note to tell them they are loved by Jesus!
What are your ideas for how to serve locally? Come share with us on our blog!