Monday, October 11, 2010

To Serve or Be Served

The selections on the buffet looked delicious. Everything from breakfast fare to salad and desserts, tempted us to fill our plates to overflowing. Our waiter catered to our every need, making sure our glasses were topped off, and whisking away empty plates to give us plenty of elbowroom. Every so often, he'd ask how we were doing, and if there was anything else he could do for us. Having been to several restaurants where the service was sadly lacking, it was a breath of fresh air, to observe his obvious desire to serve and please his customers. I'm sure you can relate.

In today's culture, the idea of serving others is somewhat foreign. Having grown up in an era with commercial slogans like, "have it your way," and, "because you're worth it," it's easy to see why the focus has shifted to self. To serve, is to meet the requirements or needs of someone, to satisfy. Literally to put oneself in the role of a servant: one who expresses submission, recognizance, or debt to another.

Think about the King of the universe, Jesus Christ. In order to fulfill the will of His Father, he "...made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross," (Philippians 2:7-8; KJV). I was struck by the thought that Christ was willing to lay aside the majesty that He shared with God, and come to earth to give His life, that I might be redeemed. He endured shame and excruciating pain that I might be freed from my burden of sin. He did all of this for me, and yet I ignore the opportunity to serve Him. Often expecting Him to be a God who serves me.

I'm forced to look at my prayer life. Some days, instead of taking time to praise Him, I find myself rushing into His throne room and pitching all my requests into His lap. Instead of allowing Him to work out the details, I add my two cents on how He should answer each prayer. Can I truly say I desire His will for my life when I'm clearly telling Him what to do? Who am I, that I should expect the God of the universe to cater to my every whim?! After all He's done for me, my proper response is to take my rightful place as His servant. Remembering that it's all about Him and not about me.

Spending time reading His Word clarifies how I can serve Him. "He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?" (Micah 6:8). Being honorable and fair when dealing with others. Extending kindness and forgiveness to others even when it's undeserved. Adopting meek and modest behavior toward my fellow man. These characteristics are unnatural, unless I've submitted myself to the power of the Holy Spirit. He enables me to treat others as I ought to, pointing others to Him all the while.

Understanding His unconditional love for me, fuels a passion for Him that motivates me to serve Him willingly. Today, I choose to give Christ first place in my life. And by careful meditation on His Word, instead of expecting my God to serve me, I humbly submit myself to Him, a servant to accomplish His will.

When you evaluate your life, do your actions indicate that you expect God to serve you? What steps are you willing to take to turn the tables and begin serving Him?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, Thank You for loving me so much that you sent Jesus to die on the cross, to pay my sin debt. After all You've done for me, forgive me for expecting You to serve me. I realize I have the opportunity to serve a great God who deserves all of my praise. Help me to internalize Your Word and submit to Your Holy Spirit, that I might serve You all of my days. In Jesus' name, Amen.


  1. Dear Maria, It seems like forever since I've been able to visit my favorite blogs(yours)but I hope to be back all the time now. I loved this post! This summer I discovered much of the same in regards to prayer-often I praise but then quickly would add my requests but now I purposely try to just spend quiet time with Him and not bring needs right away. This has been such a blessing, after all He knows them anyway. Thank you for sharing today.
    Hugs, Noreen

  2. Noreen - So good to see you, my friend! It's nice to know that others struggle in this area, too! Thankful that our God knows our frame and remembers we're but dust, and loves us in spite of us! Have a wonderful day, enjoying His blessings!

  3. Hi Maria -

    Years ago, I heard a cantata called, "The Witness." One of the songs said, "Lord make me like You, please make me like You. You are a servant. Make me one, too." That's my prayer - that I may serve Him and others.

    Susan :)

  4. Maria, when you described running into God's throne room and tossing my needs into His lap, only to give Him my suggestions on how to deal with them ... I can literally see myself acting this out! Thank you for giving such a vivid picture. I will keep it with me this week when I spend time in prayer, and I know it will help me to pray differently.


  5. I want to serve him with everything. My prayer is that He knows that desire, even when I mess up and get lost in my worries.

  6. Great post, Maria! I think we have allowed the world to influence our attitudes towards service to the point that we no longer view it as something holy and important to God.

    It's not popular to be humble, meek and service-minded. People like that are looked down upon, especially by other women. i guess it all comes down to whether or not we want to be God pleasers over man pleasers!

  7. Hi Maria,
    As always an inspiring and thought provoking post. Thank you for sharing with us.
    I will keep this in my heart when I am praying.
    Enjoy your day.

  8. Good question. I guess it is a natural thing to expect God to serve us. But we can't avoid the "carrying your cross" verses. We are called to serve him daily, through prayer and ministry to others. Good post.

  9. I left a comment but I'm not sure it went through. I will say it again--I am a person who rushes God to fix things for me instead of being always willing to serve and wait on him. I like this post.

  10. Susan - Sounds like a powerful cantata! Such simple words, but such life-changing results when lived out! Have a wonderful week & God bless!

    Julie - So glad the Lord can use the things He's teaching me, to touch others. I'm trying to be much more conscious of praising the Lord in my prayer time, rather than rushing ahead with my many requests. Hugs & blessings!

    Kristen - So good to see you! I am thankful that God knows everything about me, and still loves me in spite of me! Have a wonderful week and God bless you!

    Michelle - Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your encouragement & insightful comments! It DOES all come down to choosing whether we'll please God or man. Continue serving Him in all that you do, sister! God bless!

  11. Linda - Always appreciate your encouragement, my friend! This topic has really given me pause to evaluate my life. Have a truly blessed day!

    Warren - Denying ourselves, taking up our cross, and following Him are definitely truths we can't ignore. Sometimes I lose sight of the fact that I wasn't put on this earth to live a comfortable life. You're right - we are called to serve Christ and minister to others. Have a great week & God bless!

    Terri - Thanks for your honesty! I'm right there with you. Do you think this is a more difficult concept for us females? Control seems to be a sticking point for me! Have a beautiful day, basking in the love of the Lord!

  12. I'm a new follower! Hi! *waves* What a beautiful post! I do my best to thank God for what he's done and serve him with pursuing the gifts he's given me!

  13. Hi sister! Wow . . . seems God is speaking the same message to our hearts! There is nothing more beautiful than the life of surrender. Many years ago God told me I could not serve myself and serve Him . . . that changed everything. I had to choose. And I chose Christ. :)

    How's your daughter doing??? Praying always sister!
    In Christ,

  14. Janette - So good to see you! Have a wonderful week & God bless!

    Jen - Welcome! So glad you came by Life Lessons! I'm always encouraged by new friends/followers! I look forward to stopping in at your blog and getting to know you. Have a truly blessed day!

    Cherie - This is a tough lesson, isn't it? Good to hear that you chose the life of surrender - so neat to see how God is using you! Have a wonderful day serving Him! :)

  15. Really enjoyed this post!!! Thanks for visiting my blog. I look forward to coming back to yours!!!

  16. Elaine - Thanks so much for stopping by and following Life Lessons! I love getting to know fellow bloggers. Have a wonderful week & God bless! :)

  17. Ohhh! This was so good and "right on target!" I was just thinking of Phil. 2:7,8 a few days ago and it's "stuck with me." Hmm. I think the Lord is trying to get "a point" across. . . bingo! :) Driving to classes today, the thought came to me, "God is good, and deserves to be praised, with no strings attached, just PRAISED because of Who He is, no matter WHAT is going on in our lives. . .shipwrecks, trainwrecks, heartbreaks ~ all these things can not diminish the fact that He is worthy to be praised. . PERIOD. And then we just have to trust Him, while we're praising Him, to "work all things out for our good---and HIS glory." "Could it be that simple, Father??" I wondered. That sounds so simple, but it's so hard for us to "let go of our problems and just LET LOOSE with the PRAISE!" Ouch! I think I just stepped on MY OWN TOES! HA :)
    Anyway, thank you for stopping by today, and for joining me too on my journey! I'm SO glad the Lord led our paths to cross! :) Looking forward to getting to know U 2! :)

  18. Tammi - What a blessing! Thanks for sharing what the Lord is showing you - so thankful that our God is personal! Truly the Lord IS worthy of all of our praise, no matter what! I heard a wonderful definition of worship - giving the Lord all of our attention. When we're completely focused on Him, our problems dim in the light of His glory and grace!

    Thanks for stopping by and following! Look forward to seeing how God continues to guide, direct and use you! Hugs and blessings! :)

  19. Good post Maria, servanthood is the only true leadership in God's Kingdom.... and yes, we struggle with that from time to time. We are conrol freaks, most of us I guess :)
    Sometimes I just sit there in my quiet time, and say: God, I'm NOT going to ask you for anything today! Haha, try it, it is hard!
    Thanks for another great post, have a good weekend, enjoy!