By Pastor Stephen Hess –
One of my personal highlights last month was watching the people of Highview reach out and make an impact in our community through “Serve Day.” During this event we sent out eight teams of people to various locations to serve others in the name of Jesus Christ. In the course of just one morning there were people from Highview performing acts of service in local homeless organizations, local neighborhoods, a local school, a local nursing home, and more. It was truly a powerful testament to what God can do through our congregation. All of this brings up an important Biblical question for us to consider: Why is service such an important practice for followers of Jesus?
To answer this question we need to observe a couple of important Biblical realities. First, one of the core characteristics of Jesus was that he was identified as a servant. In the book of Isaiah we read about the Messiah who was to come and the Lord identifies him as “my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights” (Isa. 42:1). Later in Isaiah we read that this servant will “make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities” (Isa. 53:11). When Jesus carried out his mission he understood himself to be a fulfillment of these prophecies. Jesus was the ultimate servant, who was willing to serve others to the point of giving up his life for them. This is why Jesus said in Mark 10:45: “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Since the identity of a servant was so central to Jesus’ character and his ministry, the second Biblical reality we need to understand is that to follow Jesus means to embrace the role of a servant. Servanthood is not optional for disciples of Jesus; it is integral. Jesus made this clear throughout his ministry. He said, “Whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all” (Mk. 10:43-44). When Jesus was having his final meal with his disciples, he literally took on the role of a household servant by washing their feet. Then he said to them, “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should also do just as I have done to you” (Jn. 13:14-15). The Apostle Paul understood this call to servanthood when he said: “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another” (Gal. 5:13). The Bible is clear: If you are a believer you are called to be a servant.
So what does this look like in practice? The t-shirts that we wore on Serve Day had the words “SENT TO SERVE” printed on the back. Part of our mission statement at Highview Church is that we exist “to send each one out to do His will.” When we become believers Jesus sends us out with a new purpose and a new mission. Jesus said, “As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you” (Jn. 20:21). One of the reasons we are sent out by Jesus is to serve others in his name, and there are people right here in our own community who need our help. As the body of Christ we are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus bringing his light, his love, and his truth to a dark and hurting world.
The wonderful truth about servanthood is that God has equipped each one of us to serve in different ways. The Apostle Peter said that “as each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace” (1 Pet. 4:10). We each have unique gifts, resources, and opportunities that God has given us to serve. My prayer for Highview is that as time goes on we would continually discover and embrace those ways in which God has equipped us to serve, because we are all “sent to serve” for His glory.