What God Says About Serving

Written By: Winsten Dickerson


July 21, 2023

Growing up in the quaint town of Chelsea, Michigan, I attended a small community church that had no more than 40 on a Sunday. The church pastor was the only staff member, so naturally, the church members had to carry the weight of the church facility. They cleaned, vacuumed, mowed the lawn, trimmed the bushes, planted the flowers, and all the other odds and ends that would rise.

Sounds great, right?

Wrong! Like most churches, a few servant-hearted people did most of the work. But there was one that stood apart from the rest. He was a pillar of the church, being there since it began. And to make matters better, he had a wonderful and dry sense of humor. He was Michigan alumni and a huge football fan. Sadly, we had a lot of Michigan State fans in our church, so he would make sure to poke the bear when the opportunity presented itself. I remember one joke he said, “How do you keep the Michigan State offense out of your backyard? Put up a touchdown pole?” His accuracy was enchanting!

Regardless of his college allegiances, this man held the deep respect of the pastor and the church. Looking back, I now know why — he had a heart that reflected God.

We call a heart after God’s something else, a servant’s heart! Because serving starts with God. It is the exact representation of who God is! God showed His servant heart by sending Jesus Mark 10:45,

For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

So, if serving is the exact representation of our God, and Jesus is God, and He came not to be served but to serve, I would say that’s pretty stinking important.

Let’s answer the big question, Why Serve?

1 Peter 4:10, “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.”

If you are a parent or guardian, you know it’s not about you! I am a father of three and man-o-man, these kids are hard to negotiate with. They know what they want when they want it, and how they want it to be delivered. There is a lot of demand and selflessness in parenthood. People used to tell me that when I had children, I would have a deeper knowledge of the love of God. You know, they were right! When I serve my kiddos unconditionally, it helps me understand my Heavenly Father’s unconditional love. It’s not about me, and in a “me-centered” culture, that mode of living goes completely against the grain.

God’s desire is for His children to “regard others as more important than themselves,” serving radically like Jesus as he stated in Matthew 20 that “whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave.” He washed the disciple’s feet. He fed those who were hungry. He saw and helped the marginalized and the poor. He met the needs of those who were hurting. Jesus did this all because it was his heartbeat to be a servant!

One of my favorite quotes is by St. Francis of Assisi, “Share the gospel always, but, when necessary, use words.” It is amazing how loud it speaks when we genuinely serve one another. It is our greatest witness to the world. As Jesus shared in Matthew 5:16, “In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”

I had a friend in college by the name of John. There was a week or so in our dorm where a virus was going around and most people living on our door floor were ill. One night, I woke up to a student running down the hall vomiting as he ran to the bathroom. As we peaked out our doors and looked down the hall, we were mortified by what we saw and the scents that permeated our nostrils. As people lost interest, they slowly made their ways back to their rooms.

Right before I closed my door, I heard the sound of scrubbing. Turning around, I saw John on his hands and knees alone scrubbing the vomit off the floor. He showed me more than a 100 sermons in that moment. John shined because of his servants heart. He shined because he was not too proud to get dirty for the service of another. He was quite literally the hands and feet of Jesus.

I love the image we see in Matthew 25:40, when it says, “The King will reply, `I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” What a great paradox. That when we serve others, we actually are serving the Lord. How could that be so? Because we are image bearers of the King. When we serve people made in His image, we honor His creation and show all people the respect they deserve. When we act with this posture, we are blessed when we serve.

What do you love to witness at Christmas time? I know it’s summer, but stick with me. Is it when your families, friends, and children open the gift that you gave them?

We feel good about giving. It brings satisfaction from a job well done. You give, and it does more for you than getting. If you serve in an area you are gifted in, it will give you life. It will encourage you. It will build you up. When we serve authentically, it is a true joy to serve. Instead of running us into the ground, it energizes and blesses us. We don’t burn out, and it is truly a privilege. But more than that, God appreciates His faithful people. People in the trenches serving, volunteering, doing the seemingly meaningless. Their work will not go unnoticed. And one day, He will say well done, good and faithful servant!