Devotional & Reflection

Week 3, Jun 2003

Mark 10:45 - Much Serving, Much Spirituality?
By Sio SK, Civil Servant and Servant of God

Mark 10:45 “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

How many of us are like my friend who confessed she had no time for devotion and prayer as she was busy doing deeds of kindness? She was preoccupied with one activity after activity, be it cooking for the Sunday School camp, providing friends with much needed transport to and from the hospital or accommodating overseas visitors at her home. Her busyness had masked the dryness of her spiritual life.

But what good is our faith if we have no deeds? Scripture poses this challenge to us: “I will show you my faith by what I do.” (James 2:14-18) As believers in Christ, we are not just the children of God, with privileges to enjoy and look forward to, and commands to obey. Just as Jesus, the Son of God, was servant of God, we - the children of God - are called to serve too. And Jesus Himself gave us His example of servanthood, when he washed the feet of His disciples (John 13).

As servants of God, we serve God and we serve one another. And we do not just serve - we serve “in love” (Gal 5:13-14). The Apostle Paul echoed the commandment that Jesus gave in the parable of the Good Samaritan – “Love your neighbour as yourself.” In the service that the Samaritan rendered to the man who was robbed and injured, he showed the love and compassion that he had.

So love must come before service. I remember expounding to a non-Christian friend the difference in the role of good deeds in Christianity and other religions. In her religion, entry into paradise is earned through her own merit, her sins being cancelled by her good deeds in her earthly lifetime. In Christianity, salvation and eternal life comes solely through the work of Christ who died on the cross for our sins, not because of our good works. For the believer in Christ, good works come after salvation because of the love God puts in our hearts for the needy.

But not all service may be acceptable to God. In Luke 10:38-42, Martha’s plea to Jesus for Mary’s help in serving the visitors was met with a gentle rebuff, that Mary’s choice – sitting at His feet - was a better one. Why was sitting at Jesus’ feet better than extending hospitality and service? In my cell group study on servanthood, we learned that Mary’s choice was better because she had put God first. Martha, in her busyness, tried to love others before God.

Like Martha, my friend and sister-in-Christ had put others before God in her much serving. She has since recognized that the priority is, clearly, God first and then the family of God and those in need. When we have the right relationship with God, with our family and with fellow believers, God will then provide the time and ability for us to serve others. We need, too, the right attitude – the attitude of love and humility. So then, let our attitude be the same as the Lord Jesus Christ:

“Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God
something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likenesss.”
(Phil 2:5-7)

To God be the glory.

1. In what areas are you serving God? Is your service a duty that you feel obliged to perform or is it motivated by love?
2. Acts 17:25 says that God is not served by human hands as he has no need of anything. How do you reconcile God’s self-sufficiency with the service that we render as His servants?

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