The Wanderer

As I walked through the wilderness of this world …

Serving and being served

with one comment

In his excellent book My God is True: Lessons Learned Along Cancer’s Dark Road (which I hope shortly to review), Paul Wolfe makes some comments about serving and being served.  Although these are made in the context of his suffering cancer, the principles are worth remembering for all who have opportunities to serve or be served:

What stands out about those two examples [of friends who served Paul Wolfe and his wife, Christy, after his diagnosis of cancer] is that, in both cases, those who cared for us did not wait for us to ask them for help.  They came up with concrete proposals and then proactively sought us out to make them a reality.  By their example those friends taught us a valuable lesson: though there are times when ‘Let me know if there’s anything I can do’ is all that can be said, there are other times when a more proactive approach is called for.  Instead of ‘Let me know if there’s anything I can do’, try ‘Let me tell you what I’d like to do to serve you.’  Christy and I learned the value of others offering specific assistance without waiting for those in need to ask for it. . . .

Learn to see beyond earthly similarities and differences within the body and love others for Jesus’ sake.  Do not make the excuse, ‘Well, your church sounds great, but I don’t find mine to be all that loving.’  You don’t?  Well, try this tune: ‘Let there be practical love in the congregation to which I belong . . . and let it begin with me.’  In other words, if you want to encourage tangible service among the members of your church, just do it.

For example, are you the one who is suffering alone, your trials and your needs unknown to others in the church?  It may be that the first step is yours to take.  You may have to go ahead and tell others about your needs before they inquire, and then ask them to help you in concrete ways before they offer.  Remember: your duty – indeed, your privilege – is to let others serve you.  Listen again to the Apostle Paul: ‘Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ’ (Gal. 6:2).  Would you deny your brothers and sisters in Christ the opportunity to fulfil his law?  No, there is nothing heroic, nothing admirable, about shouldering your burdens, silent and solitary, if those burdens are plainly too heavy for you to bear alone.

Or, are you the one who has become aware of the needs of another?  Then do not wait for him to ask for help.  Step up and serve him.  And if someone in your congregation is battling cancer, consider seeking and serving him months after he is diagnosed.  By then he may have faded from people’s minds.  By then the flow of cards and visits and phone calls may have slowed considerably.  That is a great time to show him what God is like, the God who promises never to leave, never to forsake.

In short, there is faithful giving, and there is faithful receiving, too.  Model them both.

Are you in a position to show the grace of serving?  Do not be too lazy, too callous, too dull, too slow, too carnal to do so.

Are you in a position to show the grace of being served?  Do not be too proud, too remote, too arrogant, too stubborn, too ungrateful to do so.

“There is faithful giving, and there is faithful receiving, too.  Model them both.”

Written by Jeremy Walker

Thursday 12 November 2009 at 15:18

One Response

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  1. Despite the fact that Nike has usurped the term “Just do it” I still like the term and feel that it has a great deal of value to those people in churches that are disaffected by what they see as lacks in the church.

    Our church recently lost a number of families for various reasons but one common theme seems to be the fact that there are things that we should be doing as a church that we are not doing and the blame for this is laid at the feet of the elders. Would it be good if the elders started these things, maybe so. would it be best if the elders lead the charge on these things, in many cases, Yes. But why are we sitting so passively in the pews waiting for others to do or start the things that we know need to be done.

    The article made the statement “if you want to encourage tangible service among the members of your church, just do it.”

    We need more of a “Just do it” attitude when it comes to needs in the church and outside the church. Why do we wait for the church to have an outreach program? You are the outreach program. Why do you need the church to have a program of benevolence? If you see a need, fill it to the best of your ability.

    When you see either a need or a opportunity, “Just do it”

    Seth Getz

    Thursday 12 November 2009 at 16:24

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