“…but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:43-45)
Jesus explains how, if we wish to have a place in His kingdom, we must not place ourselves above others in our minds nor in our actions. He Himself came solely to give everything He could to us, to give everything in service until there was nothing more in Him to give. There should never be a question of self-glorification, as it should never be a goal. There should never be a question of “should I serve”, but only of “how best can I serve”. Christ calls us to help others, to assist with no expectation of reciprocity.
James explains in no uncertain terms
“So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead. But someone will say, ‘You have faith and I have works.’ Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith.” (James 2:17-18)
How can faith be shown, if not by works? It can be spoken of, yet words, no matter how elegant, cannot feed even a single needy child. They cannot provide shelter for one person from the elements. Actions speak louder than words and that is never more true than in faith. What value is my faith in Christ if I do not act as He taught us to act? It is hollow without those actions.
I have personally been struggling with this, as after our most recent move I started a job which demanded a constant on-call basis. This denied me the option of truly linking in with our new local culture, and therefore I didn’t get any real feel for the community outreach options in the area. I recently became free of the above job, and have been progressively refocusing my time and energy (this blog is a big part of the effort). I, however, have fallen short on working to get linked in with the community in the ways which would really help in me being able to change for the better. This is definitely an area where I need to work on my own faith.
There are usually community outreach programs in every city, most of which are consistently understaffed. Have an afternoon each week to chip in a set of willing hands? They’ll likely gladly accept a volunteer. Also, the best way to change a mindset is with habits. Make it a habit to serve others in the little ways. Hold the door open for someone. Help someone carry their bags. Clean off the table at restaurants. Something as simple as showing respect with a “sir” or “ma’am” can be a touching act of kindness to others. Through these acts, we can expand our understanding on the message of compassion that Christ brought to us. Every work we do brings us closer to the person that we are capable of being through God.