Core Value: Serving others is serving God.
In 21st Century America, we live really busy lives filled with never-ending to-do lists, packed schedules and constant racing to the next “thing”. It can sometimes feel overwhelming to think about serving others when it seems like we can’t even keep up with our own life. It’s imperative that we fight against the cultural norms that tell us that busy and individualistic living is best. As we’ve learned all throughout GROW, God knows how to best navigate this life, and he showed us how to do so through Jesus’ life on earth. One of the core principles of Jesus’ life was loving people by serving them.
Our reading today in John 13 gives the account of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet. Even though they were getting ready to enjoy dinner together and Jesus knew one of them would betray him, he wanted to show his friends what it meant to humble oneself and serve others. It foreshadowed the greatest love and service he would later show by dying on a cross to save and redeem us.
As we decide to live out the rhythm of open hands, we must begin to think about how we can serve others in our spheres of influence. Start with understanding what makes your heart break or sits heavily in your mind. It can be something as “big” as solving global conflicts or as “small” as making sure elderly people in your community have someone to talk with every day after their spouse passes away.
Do you have a sensitivity for women who have escaped domestic violence situations? Ask your local domestic violence shelter if they could use a volunteer. Are you passionate about seeing kids thrive and feel loved? Try serving in children’s ministry or volunteer to watch a few kids for parents who need a date night every few weeks. Does your heart break when you hear about people not feeling loved or accepted? Find out how to become a greeter at church or start leading a small group to connect with people who feel like they are on the outside. Do you love sports? Volunteer to coach a Little League team and show the love of Christ to the players, parents, refs and other coaches wherever you go.
We all have different burdens, just as we all have different gifts. Those burdens and gifts God gives us are often complementary to one another in order to help us partner with God to advance his kingdom. He doesn’t ask us to serve just to serve. There is meaning and purpose behind everything we do, so serve in an area that you’re passionate about. Living an open-handed life means being willing to get uncomfortable for the sake of Christ. It is all about humbling yourself in a way where you put all your trust in God so that when you are prompted to step out of your comfort zone or give up your time to serve, you are willing to do it. Ask the Lord to help you put the spiritual gifts you identified yesterday into practice – in a way that also helps you do something about these burdens you have on your heart. God will use it all to reveal his specific purpose and calling on your life.
Cultivating a heart to serve others might take more sacrifice than you’re used to on your end. It may require more time than you think your schedule can allow. It’s easy to say volunteering can’t fit into your schedule right now because of work, kids, school, marriage, friendships – you name it – but not serving will ultimately leave those burdens in your heart marinating longer than they’re intended to. Think of how many people are missing out on the blessing of knowing or being impacted by you if you decide to just gloss over the things God placed on your heart. Those burdens won’t disappear either. God has placed them on your heart for you to experience the blessing just as much as he placed them there for others to feel blessed by you.
Jesus took the time to wash his disciples’ feet. What can you do today that is outside of your norm to make someone feel seen, loved and cared for?
Use the PRAY (Praise, Repent, Ask, Yield) acronym to spend time in prayer.
What are some of the burdens that God has placed on your life?
Are you actively serving the community or in church? If not, what is holding you back?