Serving Others Or Serving Self – Which Brings The Most Joy?

Sermon Titled God Gives a Clear Word – A Son is Born (Genesis 18) – July 14th, 2013

There are several key points discussed in the various commentaries written about Genesis 18, but I’m only going to talk about one of them: the act of service. Pastor Reimer’s sub-title for last Sunday’s sermon was “Project Service: All We Have, All For Him.” This was such a fitting title, from my perspective, because preceding the sermon was a beautiful moment of worship – a song called “You Are For Me” -a song which was so beautifully sung that it was obvious that the musicians were serving and blessing us with God-given talent. What a perfect way to illustrate how giving up a little of our time each week, to do what God gifted us to do, is one way that we can joyfully serve Him and give Him our very best. Read below how Abraham served God in Genesis 18:1-8:

  • The Lord appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day. Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground. He said, “If I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, do not pass your servant by. Let a little water be brought, and then you may all wash your feet and rest under this tree. Let me get you something to eat, so you can be refreshed and then go on your way—now that you have come to your servant.” “Very well,” they answered, “do as you say.” So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah. “Quick,” he said, “get three seahs of the finest flour and knead it and bake some bread.” Then he ran to the herd and selected a choice, tender calf and gave it to a servant, who hurried to prepare it. He then brought some curds and milk and the calf that had been prepared, and set these before them. While they ate, he stood near them under a tree.

What an awesome show of hospitality. Doesn’t seem like that big of a deal at first; I mean most of us have invited people into our homes before and fed them a meal. But how many of us have had strangers drop by unexpectedly, and then seeing that they are weary and in need of food and water, have dropped what we’re doing to invite them in and prepare a meal for them using only the best ingredients we had on hand? I’d venture to say that few of us would give up our time to serve (wholeheartedly, and joyfully) a group of strangers who came knocking at our door.

I suppose some might argue that Abraham got up and served his visitors because he was doing nothing anyway (verse 1 says that he was sitting near the entrance of his tent during the heat of the day). Their argument might also continue with the excuse that most people live such busy lives these days that there is literally no time to serve in other capacities.

I think of my own life for example, and how I often feel as if I am racing the clock, desperately trying to check off as many tasks as possible on my “to-do” list. Of course, my list never shortens, because for every task that gets checked off as completed, another task gets added to the list. And I hear the same complaint from others too.

But Pastor Reimer made a very good point on Sunday – he said that if everybody used the excuse that they were too busy to help (whether at church, or in the community, or in third-world countries), nothing would get done. At least, none of the things that really matter.

The reality however, is that the world is a much nicer place when people are giving of themselves and serving in ways that make a difference. Can you imagine a world where people only ever did things for themselves, and gave no time or consideration to doing anything else if it did not achieve some self-seeking purpose? There would be no charities, no school, church, or community programs, no outreaches, no visits to the elderly or terminally ill children, no homeless shelters, and on a simpler level, no kind gestures done out of friendly or neighborly concern.

I know it’s often easier to be the cheerleader, or the backbencher who gives moral support but who never actually participates, but from my experience some of the most significant and rewarding moments in my life have been those which have involved an element of serving or giving. Yes, there is also a sense of reward and gratification when we accomplish goals and acquire new assets, but I don’t think it compares with that which comes from helping others.

If you’re interested in setting aside just a little time each week to serve in some way, but don’t know where to start, check out this website which provides an online test to help you discern what area/s you might be gifted to serve in. I did the test and it has helped me to really narrow down how I can give God my all, by serving others with the gifts that He has given me; I encourage you to do the same.




3 thoughts on “Serving Others Or Serving Self – Which Brings The Most Joy?

  1. Janine, another excellent post. I really appreciate your service in writing and sharing your great thoughts. Blessings,
    John Reimer

  2. I needed to hear this as sometimes I forget how crucial serving (hospitality) is before the Lord and before man. This is not something for me to take lightly! Guess I need to keep up on the house more 🙂

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