The Gift of Service
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: The activity of obeying God’s 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 they 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.
Jesus was a servant. We don’t often look at Him that way. What we consider miracles was simply an act of service to Him. He served the people by feeding the multitude. He served His disciples by teaching them. He served the sick by healing them. Everything Jesus did during His three short years of ministry was an act of service.
He has given each of us the gift of service. Some will have the gift of helps or hospitality, as already mentioned. Others may have the gift of exhortation, or encouragement, still others may have the gift of showing mercy or the gift of teaching. All of these are used in our service to others.
What is your gift of service?
Father God, during this season of Advent, may we use these gifts that You have graciously given us to bless others. Open our eyes that we may see the opportunities to serve others. Give us courage to move forward and help when we see those opportunities. I ask that You bless everyone that we serve. In Jesus’ matchless name, AMEN.