How do you define “greatness”?
Everyone wants to be considered a “great” person in some regard… a “great” parent, a “great” spouse, a “great” employee, a “great” student, a “great” player… the list is endless. How do we define “greatness”? We tend to define “greatness” as being the best, valuable, accomplished, important.
But Jesus taught that for His followers, greatness is not tied to achievement, accomplishment, value or worth; greatness is anchored in humility. Are you a humble person? What keeps us from being humble? Pride. God is not a fan of pride. In fact, God hates pride. Not the pride for a job well done, or for the accomplishment of a loved one, but the pride that keeps us from expressing humility.
The Bible teaches about the problems with pride…
- Pride fills us with arrogance and conceit. (Proverbs 8:13)
- Pride keeps us from seeking God. (Psalm 10:4; Matthew 5:3)
- Pride leads to devastating consequences. (Proverbs 16:18)
We need an antidote for pride! Humility is the antidote for pride and it was modeled for us by Jesus Christ! (Philippians 2:5-8). There is no greater expression of humility than the practice of serving. (Matthew 20:24-28). Jesus modeled the practice of serving and He made clear that “greatness” had nothing to do with position or power or privilege, greatness is all about the practice of serving!
Jesus set the example for us to follow in serving one another! (John 13:1-17). Why do you think Jesus wants us to serve others? You might answer, because they need us to serve them! Or because people will be inspired when we serve them. Or because we can show the love of Christ when we serve! Those are all valid reasons to serve; and those reasons are for the benefit of those being served.
But the most important reason to serve may not be for the benefit of the one being served, but for the benefit of the one who serves! Something happens to us when we serve; we will be blessed! Serving is actually a blessing, not only to those being served, but to those who serve! When Believers choose to serve one another, we take on the very nature and character of Jesus Christ.
So how can we practice serving in our lives? Here are Five Ways to Practice Serving:
1) Consider others more important than yourself.
3 …in humility value others above yourselves, Philippians 2:3b. There are countless opportunities in the course of your day to value others above yourself. Reach out to someone that you haven’t seen in a while to see how they are doing. Ask them how you can pray for them these days. Offer to pick up groceries for an elderly neighbor who is staying inside these days. Offer childcare for newer parents who may not have family nearby so they can enjoy a date night. Offer to lend a hand to a co-worker who has a huge project. Sign up for the next Serve Saturday at Watermark!
You can practice this principle in your own home too! Offer to clean up the kitchen after your spouse cooks dinner. Go out and start the car so it is warm for your spouse. Plan and organize a special date night. Clean your room without your parents asking you! What are ways you can serve by considering others more important than yourself?
2) Recognize that your greatest ability is your availability.
If we are serious about embracing humility and the practice of serving, we must be available to serve! Are you available? I read about one busy dad who took a day off regularly with no agenda other than to simply be available to his wife and children. He allowed them to dictate the course of his day based on their needs and how he might serve them!
Being available doesn’t mean that our days should only be filled with interruptions; knowing when you can be available is key. But if you are rarely, or never, available to serve, then you are not exercising humility. The practice of serving requires availability! It is your greatest ability.
3) Look for opportunities to quietly serve without seeking recognition.
Serving is not about elevating yourself. It is about humbling yourself. If you are going to embrace the practice of serving, there will be times when you will serve others without anyone else knowing about it, without being asked, without any recognition, without fanfare. Serving others is not about receiving a trophy or an award; it is about honoring Christ and following the example He set for us. Will you look for opportunities daily to quietly serve others without seeking or expecting any recognition?
4) Bear with one another when you would rather give up!
2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2. We serve others by bearing with them, especially when it seems unbearable to do so! Humility, gentleness and patience are reflected in a forbearing love for others that is continual and unconditional. That means, even when you want to give up on them or throw in the towel on the relationship, you don’t. Are you willing to bear with others as an act of serving?
5) Find a place to exercise your gifts and passions by serving in your church!
10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, 1 Peter 4:10. There are always opportunities to serve in the local church even during a pandemic. Volunteer to serve in some way, whether it is leading a life group, serving in children’s ministry, greeting guests, writing notes of encouragement or giving to support the ministries of your church, there are many ways to serve!
For much more, click here to watch or listen to Best Practices - Part 8 - The Practice of Serving.