We do we serve other people? What's wrong with doing what's right for me?
The world today seems to think serving yourself first is what we should do. You hear this message in sayings like, "Do what's right for you." "Have it your way" (Burger King). "Take care of number one ." God tells us something radically different in His Word.
"And anyone who wants to be first must be the slave of everyone. Even the Son of Man did not come to be served. Instead, he came to serve others. He came to give his life as the price for setting many people free.” Mark 10:44-45 (NIRV)
How did Jesus serve?
Jesus told people the Good News of how to be forgiven and get right with God (Matthew 4:17; Acts 2:38). He healed people, fed them, ate with them, defended them against those who would hurt them, and taught them about God. Jesus did all of these things, but the biggest way He served was by dying on the cross to pay for our sins. Three days later he rose (came back to life) again. Jesus gave up all of the rights and privileges He had in heaven so that He could be born a human just like you and me (Philippians 2:4-11). He died on the cross and rose again to pay for our sins. We hear all of that a lot at church in and Bible study. Sometimes skip over what it really means. Think about it for a minute with me. Jesus is God. In heaven, He could do anything. He could be anywhere. He knew all things. The host of (many, many) angels were at His command. He had only to tell them to do something and they would immediately do it. He gave all of that up in order to be born a human. As a human, He couldn't be everywhere. We can only be one place at a time. Jesus chose not to command the angels to get Him off the cross because He loved us enough to endure that pain, suffering, and the mocking (ridiculing, putting down, making fun) that the people around Him kept doing (Matthew 26:52-54). He even died (though God brought Him back to life again three days later). He did all of this because He loved us. He knows what it is like to want to sin (make bad choices). He set an example for us to follow (Hebrews 4:15; 1 Corinthians 10:12-13).
What about me?
Jesus gave His life for us. This is the biggest thing anyone can ever do for another person (John 15:13). There is nothing we can do to repay Him--ever. We serve God and others not because it will earn us a place in heaven. It won't (Isaiah 64:6). We do it because we love God. We do it because we want to show others the great love God has for them as well as us. Think about someone you love. It could be a family member or a good friend. Have you ever tried to show them how much they mean to you? How did you do it? Why did you do it? One of the ways I like to show people how much they mean to me is by sending them a card, text, or email. I don't do it because I must. I don't do it because they expect it from me. I don't even do it because there is a good reason (like a birthday). I do it simply to say I'm thinking about them and I care about them.
How to Show We Love God Too
Here is where you have a decision to make. God knows your heart. He know what you are thinking and why you do the things you do (Psalm 139:1-4). If you just pretend to love God and other people, God knows. That isn't the right way to show God how much you love Him. That is faking it. The Bible calls this hypocrisy and it is a sin.
You don’t take delight in sacrifice. If you did, I would bring it. You don’t take pleasure in burnt offerings. The greatest sacrifice you want is a broken spirit. God, you will gladly accept a heart that is broken because of sadness over sin. Psalm 51:16-17 (NIRV)
On the other hand, when we serve God and other people because we love God, He knows that too. This is good.
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8 (NIV)
How will you show your love for God and the people He created this week?