Choosing to serve

The decision to serve, in whatever capacity, is a conscious choice. It has nothing to do with the expectation of a reward or even the assumption that those being served would acknowledge it. In fact, sometimes they won’t appreciate the gesture. Our motivation and inspiration comes from the example of God our Creator and Redeemer, who serves us by providing a universe loaded with good things and who offered himself as the payment for our sins, thus reconciling us to himself.

Thus true service is a sacrifice of love. Through our job or occupation, in our care for our spouses and children, in the assistance and help we render to our neighbours, service looks beyond what is to be gained. It reaches out to help because it sees the other party as valuable, someone in whom God’s image shines forth. And it considers it worthwhile to deny oneself of one’s own convenience at that moment in order to serve or help the other person.

God’s Goodness and Service

We think of God as a King, and rightly so. We learn from David that

The Lord has established His throne in heaven,

And His kingdom rules over all. (Psalm 103:19)

But do we even consider that the Almighty Creator also stoops to serve his creatures? nature2Yes, he does. And he fulfills this role in the work of Providence. Providence is God’s work of preserving and governing all his creatures and all their actions. God not only brought the world into existence, he continues to sustain, preserve and care for all he has made. Whether they are plants, asteroids, or humans, he continues to maintain them.

In God’s service to us, many attributes come into play. These include Love, Wisdom, and Power. But the quality which seems to come into focus in his providential care for his creatures is the attribute of Goodness. And according to an Louis Berkhof,

Goodness is that perfection of God which prompts him to deal bountifully and kindly with all his creatures.

David celebrates this goodness in Psalm 145:9

The Lord is good to all,

And His tender mercies are over all His works.

Again in Psalm 104:14,15:

He causes the grass to grow for the cattle,

And vegetation for the service of man,

natureThat he may bring forth food from the earth,

And wine that makes glad the heart of man,

Oil to make his face shine,

And bread which strengthens man’s heart.

Jesus spoke of this quality in God during his Great Sermon:

That you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. (Matt.5:45)

And Paul testified to it before the people of Lystra:

Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.(Acts 14:17)

Gladness! That’s what true service does. It brings gladness to the hearts of those being served. This is what God does for his creation (Psalm 103:1-5), and this is what he expects us to do for others .

But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.(Luke 6:35)