"To you, I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens! Behold, as the eyes of the servants look to the hand of their master...so our eyes look to the LORD our God, till he has mercy upon us." Psalm 123:1, 2
What is service and what does it mean to be a servant? Popular television political dramas that involve the White House have staff who constantly use the phrase, "I serve at the will of the president." We refer to some professions, teachers, police, and firefighters for example, as "public servants." What does it mean to serve?
Merriam-Webster has fun with this one because the word is best defined in context. I can serve during tennis. I can serve a meal. Or, I can serve someone in need. That last one is probably the contextual definition for our psalmist as we speak of serving God. Webster says, "to furnish or supply something needed or desired." In John 13, Christ "poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him." (v5) Our Lord, Christ, washes our feet? Peter is astonished at the audacity of the moment and asks, "Lord, do you wash my feet?" (v6)
Many in the leadership realm talk of "servant leadership," but that is to establish a model for leading. Service is service, and by Christ's example, service is done with humility and out of love for one another (Galatians 5:13). It asks for nothing in return, from a mild pat on the back, to a thank you, to a plaque, to compensation for the effort. Our pastor noted the other night during his sermon on Psalm 123 what service is not: service is not done to gratify ego; it is not done from competitiveness ("if he can, I can"); service is not perfectionism ("not good enough, it has to be better"); and finally, it is not done for a legalistic purpose ("God says I should, so maybe this will make God look favorably on me").
Service needs no permission either. It needs no vote from a body, no election as an officer, nor a yes from a boss or person in leadership. It is an act done out of love. Where do I serve? The psalmist tells us to "lift our eyes up to the Lord." God will give us ample opportunity to serve. It can start within our homes and extend to our community through church or other service oriented groups or organizations.
It is odd that something so simple seems to not come easy because we are reminded throughout scripture and even in literature of our desire to be served and not to serve.
We pray that the Holy Spirit open our eyes and our hearts to service for people in need. From a simple act within the house (it is your turn to take out the trash or wash the dishes) to greater needs and acts of kindness. We ask Christ to empower us to serve with humility as He served. We look to God for guidance and lift our eyes to Him to seek opportunities to serve.
Hope Men's Ministry