In recent blog posts instead of examining the Verse of the Day, we have been continuing the series based on the concept “It’s all about relationships,” the theme from a conference attended three years that related seven principles that can be universally applied to “launch, challenge, and grow relationships.” These principles can be universally applied in achieving and maintaining successful relationships, but they can also be specifically applied in an area of race relations, a critically important area in America today.
These seven principles are related to verbs that connote action when specifically applied in terms of what should be done to “one another.” The reciprocal pronoun used in the plural carries the notion of a group of people acting upon themselves, i.e., upon one another. For example, we are to “love another and so forth. . .”
7) Make peace
Earlier posts have discussed the first five principles, and today we will look at the sixth.
Serve one another
One of the most striking facets of the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ was his taking upon himself the form of a servant who did not come into the world to be served but to serve. In discussing this topic of the servant or bond slave, an image almost immediately comes to mind: a basin and a towel, representative of a teachable moment in the ministry of Jesus Christ, who put off his robe and girded himself with a towel, portraying so clearly the heart of a true servant or bond slave when he washed the disciples’ feet in the account from John 13.12-15:
12 After washing their feet, he put on his robe again and sat down and asked, “Do you understand what I was doing? 13 You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because that’s what I am. 14 And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. 15 I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.
Elsewhere in the Scriptures we find similar exhortations to serve one another:
Galatians 5:13 in the New Living Translation:
For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.
As believers, we have been blessed with a wide range of spiritual abilities or talents, as 1 Peter 4:10 (NLT) confirms and states how they should be used:
God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.
To serve in its most literal sense means to perform the duties of a servant or bond slave; in our case we serve one another from a position of “voluntary servitude.” We exercise our freedom in Christ Jesus and choose to serve one another. To serve is not to assume the lowest position in the eyes of God, but those who aspire to serve are recognized as great. In Matthew 20:25-27 Jesus Christ reiterates this point:
25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. 26 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. 27 And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave—
For a definition of what it means to serve, listen to this excerpt from the classic sermon “The Drum Major Instinct” by Dr. Martin Luther King, who speaks of vast possibilities for greatness for those who choose “to serve.”
As believers we are called upon to serve, we as we are ever challenged to sow as well, expressed in this way:
To Serve and To Sow
Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy.
He who continually goes forth weeping,
Bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again
with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.
We learn to serve and to sow with a joyful heart,
To pour from the fountain of our souls and to give
All our strength to the Lord’s work and to do our part
To complete each task, to build that the Word might live,
For only deeds done for the sake of Christ remain.
The legacy of God’s will fulfilled lives beyond
This brief journey of our days filled with joy and pain:
This precious token of our covenant, the bond
Of devotion to the Master, perfected love
Shed abroad in our hearts, enfolded in His peace
That passes understanding, flowing from above.
As we plant and water, our God gives the increase.
Freely we have received that we might come to know
The love of God, as we learn to serve and to sow.
As believers, we respond to the call and demonstrate our choice:
To render service to, to act as a bond slave who serves
And joyfully gives advantage to the one being served,
So use your freedom to serve one another in love.
We conclude with the song “Be Devoted” by Acapella who encourage believers to “serve one another.”