A critical expression of faith is serving others.
No, we do not serve to earn the Lord’s favor. Nor do we serve out of obligation and guilt for what the Lord has done for us. We serve out of the abundance of God’s presence in our life. Caring for the needs of others then becomes a natural outgrowth of faith. Our actions are the physical response of the very real activity of the Holy Spirit.
The book of James notes, “In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action is dead. But someone will say, ‘You have faith; I have deeds.’ Show me your faith without deeds and I will show you my faith by my deeds…You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.” (James 2:17-18, 24)
As we mature in our spiritual journey, we develop the eyes of Christ. We catch glimpses of the world as the Lord sees it. Our compassion expands. Sensitivity to the poor and to those who do-not-yet-know the Lord are viscerally felt. Empathy develops.
How then do we respond?
The needs of our broken world are many. We may even withdraw because the needs are so great. As I read about the complex struggles present across our planet, I feel helpless.
How can I solve world hunger?
How can I vaccinate the world against malaria?
How can I put a roof over everyone’s head?
How can I teach every child to read?
The burden to respond does not rest on your shoulders or mine. The Lord knows the needs. In His timing, He calls the church to respond. Hence, we must listen and act. Mutually and in partnership, the global church is at work. When we live 1 Corinthians 12:12-31, we demonstrate to the world that we are one body with many parts. In addition to serving the needs of others, our unity testifies to God’s presence as the glue for change.
We are siblings in Christ with believers all over the globe. Each of us has a role. Gifted with talents and abilities, we serve to care for those in need. Together we can (and do!) make a difference.
Ways to Serve
First, pray and seek the Lord’s guidance for your specific role. What burdens you? What draws your attention in the news? What causes you to say “that should not be”?
Second, ponder specific needs. Are you passionate about homelessness? Orphans? Sharing Christ with those who have not heard? Hunger? Racial Reconciliation? Human trafficking? Disaster relief?
Third, choose one thing to do within the scope of your passion. For example:
- Homelessness? Donate a Saturday’s labor to help Habitat for Humanity.
- Orphan care? Sponsor a child, such as the AIDS-orphans under the care of Every Orphan’s Hope.
- Human Trafficking? Learn about this tragic reality by reading International Justice Mission materials. Donate to their labors.
Finally, keep learning and serving. You will make a difference one step at a time!
Posted by Sharon R. Hoover
Diane McElwain says
I think the Lord gives us burdens and over the years they change, but basically we serve others to serve Christ. It is true: we must remember we may have heavy burdens but we can’t do it all. We must lay them at his feet and see were we are able to help.
Sharon R Hoover says
You bring up an important point, Diane! I, too, have experienced these changing burdens. Through prayer, we hope to be attentive to the needs around us AND the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Thanks for stopping by and adding to the conversation! :)