Lots of organizations speak of the importance of service. Certainly our church does. One of the membership vows is to participate with our service. Serving is an important act of faith and community involvement. In fact, we have two service opportunities that we’re promoting for tomorrow:
Around 7:50 a.m., a group from Central will gather behind the old Hope Health building on Palmetto (turn right onto Jarrott Street at the KFC (516 E. Palmetto St.) and it is the first entrance on the left) to serve breakfast to hungry people in the community. Others from our church will be there to give away necessities.
At 9 a.m. a group will be in Central’s Irby St. Parking Lot to prepare bed frames for children in our area who don’t have their own bed on which to sleep.
On Sunday, The Well will hold their Digging Deeper Community Workday starting around 9:30 a.m. after an abbreviated worship service beginning at 9 a.m. On-campus service activities include making no-sew fleece blankets for Care House of the Pee Dee and Lighthouse Ministries, and writing notes to law enforcement officials, first responders, and Central members. Off-campus activities include service projects at Help4Kids, Florence Area Humane Society, and Briggs Elementary.
We do these acts because they are good for our community and good witnesses to the love of Christ. We also do them because of what we hope they’ll help us become. We have higher aspirations than just a good day of service. We hope that serving will transform us into servants.
When I was in Indonesia I stayed with a family that had a servant. It was an unusual and uncomfortable arrangement for me, but perfectly normal to the family with whom I stayed. The servant was given orders, but, otherwise, rarely spoken to. She had a place to sleep and food to eat, but when she wasn’t doing those things, she was constantly at work – sweeping, cleaning, cooking. She didn’t perform a few acts of service. She was a servant. It was her identity.
When Jesus tells the disciples who were seeking places of honor that the truly great are servants (Mark 10:35-45), I don’t think he has in mind reaching a threshold of service hours or service projects. I think he’s thinking of their identity being that of servant. I’m certain Jesus doesn’t want a stratified society like the one I spent a few weeks in Indonesia, but I do think he wants us to think of how we can aid others, not just on nice occasions like we’re offering tomorrow, but all the time. I think he wants us to identify as servants, to have that as our identity wherever we are and whatever we’re doing.
The more we serve, the more likely we are to take on that identify and, as a result, the more likely we are to find ourselves fulfilling another membership vow: witness. When we do an act of service we may well witness to our faith, but when we are servants, we are continually witnessing to our Lord.