“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.”
One summer, when I was in college, I was a waitress at a Holiday Inn restaurant. It was my first real job that wasn’t located in a cornfield. I learned some really interesting things in that kitchen from the cook and other wait staff. I also learned that serving people was a lot different than pulling tassels.
The word “serve” in this passage is the Greek word for slave (douleou). After going to great lengths to explain to the believers in Galatia that they were no longer enslaved by sin or by the law, Paul put a spin on the whole idea that might have given the Galatians whiplash.
- Christ set you free from slavery to sin and the law.
- Use your freedom to enter into slavery, serving each other.
It was a radical idea then.
It still is.
I have opportunities all the day long to make a choice:
I can indulge in serving myself.
I can humbly serve others.
The direction I choose has dramatic results:
Serving myself leads to isolation, pride and dissatisfaction.
Serving others leads to connection, humility, and deep joy.
Good waitresses know that service with a smile might result in a good tip.
Here are some good tips to help us be better servants of each other. Watch for opportunities to say:
- Is there anything I can do for you today?
- Can I take your kids to the park for an hour?
- Do you need any help with that ministry?
- Would you like the last cookie?
- How can I pray for you this week?
- Why don’t you let me take care of that for you?
- What can I do to make your job easier?
- Do you need a volunteer who is adept at technology to help with the recording of worship services and getting it out on the Facebook page and church homepage?
Let your imagination run wild.
Then run with your wild ideas.
Dear God, I am naturally self-centered. I need the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit to ignite in me a passion to serve my brothers and sisters from a heart of love. Give me wild and creative ideas and then push me to follow through with them. Jesus, You said You didn’t come to be served but to serve. Me, too. I want to be like You. Grant me eyes to see others’ needs and the wherewithal to meet them. Help us, Your children, to serve one another humbly, in love.
*Part ten in a series on “The One Anothers”