Called to Serve
Have you ever been somewhere—maybe in a restaurant, a doctor’s office, or a department store—and asked a worker why they do what they do? Perhaps they’re trying to support a family. Maybe they’ve had a keen interest in the field since they were young. Among a variety of answers, you’ll occasionally hear someone say, “This is my calling.” In a very real sense, they express accurately the New Testament’s perspective on ministry.
Those who are in Christ are all called to a life of service. It’s not that we are all called to Christ but only some go on to serve; service is an integral part of Christian discipleship. When Jesus called His disciples to become “fishers of men,” He was saying to them, I have a job for you to do. I want you to be involved in My ministry.
Whether a Christian is called to serve as a preacher or teacher of God’s word, as a Bible-study leader for youth, as a volunteer in the church nursery, as a witness in their factory or office, as a parent raising children in the home or a child caring for an elderly parent, or in some other role, God’s call to service equally applies. Any distinction between “full-time servants” and “lay servants” is a distinction not of value but only of function. The service itself is what’s most important.
In the Bible’s terms, service is not a pathway to greatness; service is greatness. “Even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). We don’t serve sacrificially in hopes that we’ll be “promoted,” as in the workplace or in academic circles, nor do we serve so that one day we’ll serve no more. Jesus says, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all” (9:35). When our actions demonstrate our understanding of this paradox, all glory will go to God.
Christian service is ultimately nothing less than the ministry of the risen Lord Jesus among and through His people. The apostle Paul understood this clearly when he wrote, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). Jesus gave His life for us in order that He might take our lives from us and live His life through us. If you understand that, you will truly be able to serve as Jesus served—and your life will count for far more than if you had used it to serve yourself. Let us be about our calling today.
Jesus Again Foretells Death, Resurrection
30They went on from there and passed through Galilee. And he did not want anyone to know, 31for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him. And when he is killed, after three days he will rise.” 32But they did not understand the saying, and were afraid to ask him.
Who Is the Greatest?
33And they came to Capernaum. And when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you discussing on the way?” 34But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. 35And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” 36And he took a child and put him in the midst of them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them, 37“Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.”
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