Yesterday, our church did what it has done every other year for the past several years. In a church-wide effort called Service for Service, we gave up our regular church services in order to serve our community. Rather than worship God with our voices, we worshipped Him with our actions, with service. Teams of people were sent out throughout the neighboring towns to participate in a variety of projects. Some lent their hands to painting and construction projects, some visited shut-ins and held worship services at nursing homes, some participated in offering free car washes. Through all of these things, the gospel was preached through actions rather than words. And, through it all, God was glorified.
Jesus taught that the two greatest commandments are to love God and love our neighbors (Matthew 22:36-39). When we reach out to those around us, offering our hands and our hearts to help them, we are following those commands. Our service to people around us, to our neighbors, reflects our love for God. The things that we do for those in need around us, we do for Him (Matthew 25:40). Our service to those around us, to our neighbors, also reflects our love for them. And when we love our neighbors in that way, we are showing them the love of Jesus. We become mirrors that reflect His image to the world around us.
Jesus taught that we are to serve others. On the night before He gave His life for us, Jesus washed the feet of His disciples, giving them a tangible example of what it means to serve others, to be servant leaders (John 13:12-15). Jesus is the greatest example of a servant leader. Despite the fact that He was the Son of God, part of the Trinity, Jesus came into this world not to be served but to serve. And, His greatest act of service was in giving His life as a ransom for our sins, providing a way for us to enjoy eternal life (Matthew 20:28). As believers, we must always seek to serve not only God, but also our neighbors.