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Why do you feel called to serve others?

By AL EARLEY

Religion columnist

A barber was feeling generous one day as he cut a police officer’s hair.  He thanked the officer for his hard work to make the town better, and was full of joy to give the officer his haircut for free.  His joy was increased the next morning when a dozen doughnuts were waiting for him at the barbershop door.

When the local florist came in later that day, he thanked him for all the plants donated to beautify the town, and he gave him a free haircut. The next day he was pleased to see a dozen roses at his door that he could give to his wife. 

That day a minister came to get a haircut. He thanked him for all he did to help people in the community, and gave him a free haircut. The next day there were a dozen ministers waiting at his door. 

Why do you serve others? I remember when I went to a mission called Redbird Mission in Beverly, Kentucky. The director said something before we all went to help our assigned families that has stuck with me. He said, “If you are here to give the people here something they can’t get without you then don’t stay. God will provide.  You need something God wants to give you this week, and that is why you are here.”

I like to serve people, and it got me thinking about why the Bible tells us to cultivate a servant’s heart.  One thing Jesus teaches us about serving others is that it makes us more like Jesus, and that is always to be one of our greatest goals.  After washing his disciples’ feet, He said, “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet” (John 13:14). 

People who regularly serve others find that they always gain more in their growth of faith and character than they give to others.  In Matthew 25:31-46 Jesus teaches that when we help those in need we help Him.  When we help those who are hungry, poor, and homeless we can see Jesus in their eyes, and experience Jesus’ presence with us as we serve.  That will change us in many positive ways. 

Another good reason to help people is that God wants to reward us in the next life for the good works we do in this life.  The apostle John records the revelation of the angel of God in Revelation 14:13, “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.”

Jesus made the greatest sacrifice for us by dying for our sins.  Anything we can do to better understand sacrifice will make us more like Jesus.  This story illustrates the power of sacrifice.  During his reign King Frederick William III of Prussia found himself in trouble. Wars had been costly and in trying to rebuild the nation, he was seriously short of finances. After careful reflection, he decided to ask the women of Prussia to bring their jewelry of gold and silver to be melted down for their country. For each ornament received, he determined to exchange a decoration of bronze or iron as a symbol of his gratitude. Each decoration would be inscribed, “I Gave Gold for Iron, 1813.”

The response was overwhelming. The women prized their gifts from the king more than their former jewelry. The reason why is clear, the decorations were proof that they had sacrificed for their king. It even became unfashionable to wear any other jewelry. And thus, was established the Order of The Iron Cross.

Jesus calls us to cultivate servant’s hearts.  He calls us to trade in our worldly possessions and join the “Order of the Wooden Cross.”  What are you doing to cultivate a servant’s heart?  When was the last time you put your faith into action?  I hope you will study Jesus’ call to be servants one to another by looking at these scripture texts: Matthew 5-7 (make note of all the teachings about serving others), The Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), The Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30), and Philippians 2:5-12.

To find out more about Al Earley or read previous articles, visit www.lagrangepres.com.