Jesus said “ I came not to be served but to serve and to give my life a ransom for Many”. The God of heaven and earth came into this world to serve his Heavenly Father by serving and saving a lost humanity. Service was not beneath him and should not be beneath us. Let me suggest instead, that service to God is the highest calling of all.
The prophet Isaiah described the messiah as a suffering servant (Isa. 53). Many times, the apostle Paul called himself the slave of Christ and felt that he was indebted to all men. In his second letter, the apostle Peter refers to himself as a bond-servant of Christ.
From Jesus on down, all of the leaders in the N.T. Church were servants. They were servants of God. But since God himself does not really need anything, his servants are told to serve other people in God’s name. Even a casual understanding of scripture makes it clear that all Christians are supposed to serve in Jesus’ name. And as such, we are all servants of the most-high God.
Let me suggest one place where such service is indispensable. It is in our families. Service is the glue that holds families together, and love really does begin at home.
The connection between love and service is a bit like love and obedience. Jesus said: “if you love me, you will keep my commandments”. In other words, there is no point in saying that we love Jesus if we won’t keep his word. In the same way, it is impossible to say that we love others unless we are willing to serve them.. God so loved the world – that he gave his one and only son. Therefore, love and Service are two sides of the same coin.
John was reflecting the teachings of Jesus when he said:
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God” (1st Jo.4:7)
As important as it is for Christians to love one another, love begins at home. What I mean is that we ought to be just as kind and understanding at home as we are with people in the church. We should be just as quick to see the good in our family members and to encourage it at home as we are in the Lord’s church. And we ought to be just as slow to find fault at home as we are outside of it.
Love really does begin at home. It starts with us, with a husband who loves his wife as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it. Love is serving your wife and your children by putting them ahead of yourself – in your heart and in your life. Love begins with a wife who honours her husband as the head of the home. Who supports him and encourages him to lead. In other words, love that begins at home begins by honouring the home as it was created by God. It sees the home as a divine institution and not just a social convention. You and I did not think it up. And we will not find ways to improve on it. Dad-Mom-and the kids – is a profound reality. It is a gift from God to us. It mirrors the divine family of God that is eternal. And it comes with instructions hat say: do not tamper.
For those who do not believe in God, faith rests on several assumptions: One of these is “that matter can neither be created nor destroyed”. in other words, matter is eternal and is the basic building block of the universe.
Christians see the world in a different way. This world has been created by God and He will one day destroy it. Families are a part of God’s creation and as such they can also be
destroyed. But God’s plan is for all families to become indestructible. His plan is that they should become Christian families and be sustained by His power. And as such, Christian families are intended to make up that part of this creation that will last forever. So when we say that love starts at home, we mean that it starts in a very important place.
Of course, in order for families to be truly Christian, their members must have entered the Kingdom of God. We become related to each other by the blood of Jesus Christ and enter into God’s Family. But service is the glue that holds the family together. If it is true that talk is cheap…then talk of love can also be cheap. But service puts arms and legs on our love.
What then does Christian service look like at home?
To begin with, service means being there. I mean, you and me, at home, with your wife, your husband, your children…present in the flesh. Until Jesus came to earth in the flesh…he was not here in the flesh. And apparently, nothing short of that would do to accomplish God’s work here on earth.
In the same way, being where I am supposed to be and doing what I am supposed to do counts for something with God. This is especially so when it comes to being a husband and a father or a wife and a mother. Just ask your kids…it really counts for something with them So, love is being there. Now of course, it is more than just being a warm body, but if you’re not there then you are just not there.
Okay – so I am there….what else is it? Well, as a Christian, it is potentially everything that you do to serve.
It is kissing your kids goodbye as you leave to put bread on the table.
- Holding down a job is a credit to God.
- It is security for your family.
- It is honourable in the sight of all and contributes to society.
- It means that you can bless others by sharing and giving.
As important as it is to go off to work, it is also important to come home again. To spend time with the family at the end of the day. Work notwithstanding, love is still – being there.
Sometimes service, is sewing and cleaning, cooking and doing dishes. It is washing skinned knees and drying tears. It is listening without interrupting and softening your heart. It may be a trip to the little league game or time together at the fishing-hole. Service shows up in hundreds of the ordinary everyday things that may seem to be mundane.
Service is also being a leader. It is teaching your children the difference between right and wrong and explaining why there is such a thing in the first place. It is praying together at the end of the day and teaching your children how to pray. It is bringing God into your children’s lives so that they believe in God and not just in you. To do that, my kids need to know scripture better than they know their video games or the latest lyrics on the radio. For that to happen, I need to spend time with them in God’s word – in ways that are not artificial. Do it in a way that comes from the heart…and God will bless you for it.
There are few things as sad as the child who walks out the door of a ‘Christian’ home to make their own way – without faith in God. But how encouraging, how full of hope and expectation, how confident of the future, if they walk through that door with Christ as their saviour and Lord of their lives.
Love begins at home and in the form of service that brings honour to God by instilling faith in Him.