“Do unto others…before they have the chance to do unto you first.” Have you ever heard that little bromide before? That’s the not-so-golden version of the golden rule. Somehow, I don’t think that really captures what Jesus had in mind when He said, “And just as you want people to treat you, treat them in the same way” – Luke 6:31. What Jesus had in mind was serving people in love, and Jesus practiced what He preached!
Throughout His three years of public ministry Jesus exhausted Himself in loving service to others. Jesus said of Himself, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” – Mark 10:45. The ultimate expression of Jesus’ humble service to others was that, “…being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” – Phil. 2:8.
Jesus’ example is more than challenging, it’s life-changing. Jesus showed us that to serve is to act in love; it will cost us something to invest in each other Jesus’ way. Here are a few simple suggestions, based on an ACT acronym, that each of us can apply directly to our service to God’s people in our own church family.
Available: Serving in the church family will cost you some time. It is time well spent. Your presence is important and encouraging. Be at worship services and church functions. Be prompt as a gift of service to those who are also sharing in the time along with you. Hang around and don’t hurry away; seek someone out (visitors or someone you don’t know well) and give them some of your time while you listen to them.
Committed: Commit your heart to church life. Church life should be at the center of life because it is what is most important about us – we are part of the family of God! Jobs, family, rest, etc., are important. It isn’t as much a matter of balancing your commitments but of focusing your efforts and resources on the most important commitments. Church life doesn’t compete with your life; it helps complete your life.
Teachable: Be available and committed to the teaching times of our church. Excited, eager, and expectant learners are contagious critters. It serves to encourage the body to see you and your family making the commitment to support the teaching times of our church. Being teachable is learning, growing, and changing…together.
Notice I haven’t said, ‘sign up for this’ or ‘serve by doing that’ or ‘I think you should…’. I don’t know what specific role your service in the church family will look like, but I do know you are needed and that the Lord would have you ACT (see Heb. 10:24-25).
Just like in most relationships, it’s the simple things, the little things practiced consistently that are most often the greatest blessings. Roll up your spiritual sleeves and be available, committed and teachable while doing, “all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father” Colossians 3:17.