I Corinthians 12:4-5 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.
Dictionary.com defines service as “an act of helpful activity; help; aid: to do someone a service.” Another definition listed is “the serving of God by obedience, piety, etc.: voluntary service.” If we combine these two definitions to develop a “spiritual” definition, it might look something like this: Serving God by obeying His command to serve others.
Matthew 35:25-40 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
As it says in I Corinthians 12, there are different kinds of service. Many people have been given the serving gift of hospitality. Not only can these people whip up a gourmet meal to take to someone who’s just gotten home from the hospital, they will also open their home for indefinite periods of time to host missionaries, evangelists and those who are displaced. When it comes to hospitality, unexpected guests for dinner, or guests who stay for months, do not rattle them. There is nothing related to hospitality this group of people can’t do. It is a special gift and calling with which God has blessed them.
There is also the serving gift of helps. By “helps” I mean helping in ways that those being helped cannot do. For example, repairs to items in the home, or the house itself, or car repairs. Some people help by running errands, driving those who can’t drive to the doctor or grocery store. The serving gift of helps is an extremely important one, especially to those in need.
Many people have the serving gift of visitation. Most people probably don’t look at visitation as a gift. Have you ever known anyone who is comfortable in any situation? They can go into a stranger’s home and immediately put everyone at ease. They can visit those that mourn and know exactly what to say to bring comfort to the mourner. They can call on those in the hospital and bring cheer by their very presence. That is the serving gift of visitation.
I don’t know if counseling would be considered a gift of service. But I do love to counsel people. More often than not, I get as much or more out of counseling sessions than they do! I am blessed by seeing God work in their lives as He helps them discover areas in their lives they need to surrender to Him, as He heals them of emotional wounds they have carried far too long. Counseling is not easy. There are times when I wonder whatever possessed me to get a degree in counseling and begin counseling people. God always reminds me it is up to Him – not me – to reveal to them what He wants them to know and to heal them. God never fails. He always shows up and ministers to the person, in spite of me. It is an awesome thing to see and I am forever grateful to God for these opportunities to watch Him work in other peoples’ lives.
(c) December 2009