A little while ago, Lifeway Church conducted an ordination service where we credentialed six individuals and officially acknowledged the call of God upon their lives. As I looked at the candidates who stood before the congregation during the ceremony, something welled up within my heart: “Every one of them are wired to serve, and they serve well.”
Service is at the heart of greatness. Too many people spend an entire lifetime focusing only on themselves, thinking that significance comes from success. To make a difference in the world, the focus must be turned outward first instead of inward, giving instead of getting, serving rather than being served.
We don’t make a lasting impact by what money we make. That’s secondary. We make a lasting impact by what we give. Instead of focusing on how much you can get, focus on how much you can give. If you want to make a difference in your family, serve them; in your church, find a place to serve; in your community, selflessly serve your neighbors; in your world, serve others.
During John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address on January 20th, 1961, he famously said, “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.” The sentiment found in that quote applies to today’s blog: “Ask not what others can do for you; ask what you can do for them.” If you want to impact the world, then serve others.
I trusted Jesus as my Lord and Savior in 1975 at the age of 25. The church we attended at the time often sang a song that contained the following words in the chorus:
Jesus use me
And oh Lord please don’t refuse me
For surely there’s a work that I can do
Even though it’s humble
Lord help my will to crumble
Though the cost be great, I’ll work for you
As I look back at that time in my life, it inspires me to offer you a challenge and a warning. Here’s the challenge: Every Christian should pray some version of those words every day of their lives. And the warning is this: Jesus will answer that prayer every single time. As Christians, we are wired by the Holy Spirit to serve, not to sit, soak, and sour.
During my 45-year journey as a follower of Christ, I have learned that serving Him through serving others should be a regular habit of life. There isn’t anything that brings me more joy or creates a greater sense of fulfillment. It brings true meaning to my life. Why? Because I am wired to serve.
In my blog today, I want to share with you what I have learned about being wired to serve. Just what kind of person does Jesus use?
Jesus uses people who are already doing the right things.
We need to see our routines as a blank canvas upon which God paints numerous opportunities to serve others. “Routine” is God’s way of saving us in between times of inspiration. “Drudgery” can be God’s way of building character. Keep doing the right things and opportunities to serve will abound.
Jesus uses people who can be interrupted.
When we see people as annoyances or interruptions, we can miss so many opportunities to serve. Tasks, projects, and “To Do” lists must be secondary to loving and caring for the people in our lives. Never allow the problem to be solved to become more important than the person to be loved!
Jesus was constantly interrupted during his earthly ministry, but he never saw them as nuisances. He saw them as golden opportunities to engage people and change their lives. Let’s be more like him.
Jesus uses people who pay attention to needs.
I can be so busy speeding through life that I miss the opportunity to recognize the needs around me. I have lived in Lebanon for over thirty years. Driving through the City in my car, even at 25 MPH can cause me to miss so much.
Twenty-five years ago, I decided to do a prayer walk throughout most of the City. What an eye-opener that was! I saw things I never saw before, heard things I have never heard, and met people I probably would not have ever met, even though I was walking on streets that I have driven on a thousand times. Why? I slowed down and paid attention to the needs around me.
Jesus paid constant attention to the needs around him. Whether it was calling Zacheus out of his tree or asking “Who touched me?” when an infirmed woman in a crowd touched the hem of his garment, Jesus paid attention. Let’s be more like him!
Jesus uses people who inspire hope in others.
We are currently living in an angry, partisan, and hypercritical world. Social media is ablaze with hateful and hurtful statements that can suck the hope out of the air. That’s our culture. But we are called to be counterculture.
A person can live around eight minutes without oxygen, three days without water, and about forty days without food. But I believe that no one can live, truly live, one second without hope. We are wired to serve, and part of that is to intentionally become a purveyor of hope.
Jesus constantly offered hope to whomever he met. Whether it was the woman caught in the act of adultery, the lost woman at the well who had gone through five divorces, or a curious Pharisee he secretly met within the dead of night, they all experienced the hope that a better life was available to them. Let’s be more like Jesus and be a purveyor of hope!
Jesus uses people who use what they have.
We are all keenly aware of what we lack when it comes to talents and resources, so much so that we actually ignore and fail to utilize what we do have. But God is not looking for gifted people as much as he is looking for available and willing people.
Whether it’s the shepherd’s stick in the hand of Moses, the jawbone of a donkey in the hands of Samson, or the five biscuits and two sardines in the hands of a little boy, God shows us that little becomes much when it is finally placed in his hands! Moses’ stick became the Rod of God, Samson used the donkey jaw to kill 1,000 Philistines, and the little boy’s lunch fed 5,000 men, not counting women and children. But only after they decided to use what they had!
Jesus uses people who know their Source.
I have a college degree in ministry. I have 43 years of ministerial experience. I have read hundreds of books including the Bible from cover-to-cover several times. I have attended more conferences and workshops than I can count. But at the end of the day, I must constantly acknowledge that the God who made me is my ultimate source. Without him, I can do nothing of eternal consequence (John 15:5).
When I am preparing for a sermon, I tend to study myself to death, and then pray myself back to life. But even after all of that, if God doesn’t speak through me, no one will hear him. It’s not about me – it’s all about him! He’s my source.
Jesus uses people who will try their best and trust Him to do the rest.
Great results can only follow great effort. We should always strive for excellence, which is doing the absolute best we are capable of. But after we have done all we can in the natural while serving people, it’s the supernatural that will take us to the next level.
We are no one’s savior or God, but we can point people to the One who is, and create an environment where he can show up and show off.
Lastly, Jesus uses people who want Him to get all the glory.
I have seen my share of glory hounds in my lifetime. You know, the guy or gal who is always tooting their own horn and reminding anyone who will listen how great they and their accomplishments are. To be honest, there have been times when I was that guy. I guess that’s a trap that we all have to look out for. But, the truth of the matter is that if anything good comes out of my life, it is by the grace of God and because I allowed him to shine through my humanity.
If we begin each day with a sincere prayer asking God to reveal his glory through our lives, we can be sure that he will use us!
We are wired to serve! Let’s stay connected to the Power Source.