Celebration of DisciplineThe Pathway to Spiritual Growth The Discipline of Service
The cross is the sign of Submission The towel is the sign of Service Who is the greatest? (Luke 9:46-48) “You become great by accepting, not asserting. Your spirit, not your size, makes the difference” (msg.) Jesus redefined greatness (John13:14,15) An authority of function, not status Service
Service • In service we must experience the many little deaths of going beyond ourselves. Service banishes us to the mundane, the ordinary, the trivial. • Matthew 20 :25-28, the spiritual authority of Jesus is an authority not found in a position or a title, but in a towel.
Self-righteous service comes through human effort. Impressed with the “big deal” Requires external rewards Highly concerned about results True service comes from a relationship with Christ. Impossible to distinguish the small from the large service Rest contented in hiddenness Free of the need to calculate results Self-righteous Service vs. True Service
Picks and chooses whom to serve Affected by moods and whims Is temporary Is insensitive It fractures community Indiscriminate in its ministry (Mark 9:35) Ministers simply and faithfully because there is a need Is a life-style Can withhold the service as freely as perform the service It builds community, it draws, binds, heals Self-righteous Service vs. True Service
Service and Humility • The grace and growth of humility is worked into our lives through service. • Service disciplines and transforms the desires of the flesh. • The flesh whines against service and screams against hidden service. • It strains and pulls for honor and recognition.
Service and Humility • I John 2:16 • “Lust of the flesh” refers to the failure to discipline the natural human passions. • “Lust of the eyes” refers to the tendency to be captivated by outward show. • “Pride of life” is defined as “Pretentious egoism” • The flesh is the deadly enemy of humility.
Humility William Law in his book, A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life, counsels us to “…condescend to all the weaknesses and infirmities of your fellow-creatures, cover their frailties, love their excellencies, encourage their virtues, relieve their wants, rejoice in their prosperities, compassionate their distress, receive their friendships, overlook their unkindness, forgive their malice, be a servant of servants, and condescend to do the lowest offices to the lowest of mankind.”
Yes…But • “If I do that, people will take advantage of me; they will walk all over me.” • Who can hurt someone who has freely chosen to be stepped on? • We must understand the difference between choosing to serve and choosing to be a servant. • We surrender our rights. We become available and vulnerable.
The Discipline of Service Lesson II
Review • Read John 13:7-15 • The towel is a sign of service • Selfishness hinders service. We must experience the little deaths that lead to authentic servanthood. • Spiritual authority is found in a towel. • Humility is an outgrowth of service. • The flesh is a deadly enemy of humility.
The Discipline of Service • Service is not a list of things we do, but a way of living. • There is more to service than specific acts of serving. • It is one thing to act like a servant; it is quite another to be a servant. • What does service look like in the marketplace?
Service in the Marketplace of our daily lives 1. The Service of Hiddenness. • If all of our serving is before others, we will be shallow people indeed. • Hiddenness is a rebuke to the flesh and can deal a fatal blow to pride. • Hidden, anonymous ministries affect even people who know nothing of them.
Service in the Marketplace 2.The Service of Small Things. • Acts 9:36-42, the service of Dorcas • The ministry of small things is a daily service. • Large tasks require great sacrifice for a moment; small things require constant sacrifice. • Matthew 25:20-23, faithful w/small things.
Service in the Marketplace 3. The Service of Guarding the Reputation of others. • Titus 3:2 • Backbiting is a deadly poison. • The discipline of holding one’s tongue. • Refuse to be a party to the slanderous talk of others.
Service in the Marketplace 4. The Service of Being Served. • John 13:8 • It is an act of submission and service to allow others to serve us. It recognizes their “kingdom authority” over us. • Repayment of service is never an issue • Pride is an enemy to submission.
Service in the Marketplace 5. The Service of Common Courtesy. • Titus 3:2, valuing one another • Words of “thank you” and “yes, please,” letters of appreciation and RSVP responses are all services of courtesy. • Courtesy allows us to acknowledge others and affirm their worth.
Service in the Marketplace 6. The Service of Hospitality. • I Peter 4:9; I Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:8 • Christians should open their homes to one another. • The stuff of hospitality is not tea, cookies, a napkin; it is a chance to be together and share. Just sit down and talk.
Service in the Marketplace 7. The Service of Listening. • The beginning of love for others is learning to listen to them. • We do not have to have the correct answers to listen well. • To listen to others quiets and disciplines the mind to listen to God.
Service in the Marketplace 8. The Service of Bearing the Burdens of Each Other. • Galatians 6:1-2 • The “law of Christ is the law of love • James 2:8, the “royal law” • Love is more perfectly fulfilled when we bear the hurts and sufferings of each other.
Service in the Marketplace • Weeping with those who weep. When we are with those who are going through, weeping is far better than words. • We must learn to uphold the burdens of others without being destroyed by them. • Matthew 11:30
Service in the Marketplace 9. Sharing the Word of Life with One Another • No individual can hear all that God wants to say. • We are dependent on one another to receive the full counsel of God. • Be careful not to mix your words with God’s Word.
A Prayer“Lord Jesus, as it would please you bring me someone today whom I can serve.”