You gotta love Mr. Bean! Each time I watch this guy, he cracks me up. All humor aside, it does illustrate a key biblical concept: Knowing how your skills, knowledge, experience, and desires fit into God’s kingdom for service is essential for building a spiritual community. You gotta find the right fit for those spiritual gifts of which the Bible speaks to begin realizing the potential God has for you.
“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithfull stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”
(1 Peter 4:10)
Service is an essential ingredient that makes all of the “one another” passages in the New Testament meaningful. It enables and inspires genuine community. Proverbs reminds us that “one who waters will himself be watered” (Pr 11:25). At the intersection of every human relationship is a kind of reciprocity that molds us and makes us into the persons that we become. We will reap from others what we sow into their lives and service is the catalyst for gleaning the results of our labor.
In service we actively and willingly employ our gifts and resources to meet the needs of others so we might train ourselves in the selflessness of Christ. Christians serve others not merely because it will meet another’s need, but because it promotes Christlikeness in us.
1. Service strengthens the weak and frees us from resentment. Those who participate in service that is relatively unnoticed know the value of their efforts because every act is an act of “serving the Lord Christ” (Col 3:23-24; see also Deut 13:4). At the end of the day we serve an audience of “One.” Mundane tasks, therefore, become our greatest endeavors because we serve others as if serving Christ himself. And so, when we “do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Col 3:17) there’s no chance for resentment to creep in, since what we do is for Christ and not merely for others.
2. Service weakens the strong and frees us from arrogance. Any one of us, and especially those in positions of leadership and authority, can easily view our status as more important than it really is, or tacitly permit others to do so. Jesus challenges “greatness” by showing us that the way up is really the way down (Mt 20:25-28). “Greatness” in Jesus’ kingdom is measured by selfless service. Ironically, the terms “minister” or “pastor” originally meant “helper” or “shepherd”, but have come to be seen as a badge of honor or prestige. Yet Jesus cries, “It shall not be so among you!” To be “great” is to live as a servant and vice versa. There’s no room for superiority or conceit among God’s children because there’s only room for one King in the kingdom.
3. Service frees us from the pitfalls of pretense and performance traps. With our singular orientation toward Christ, we serve at the feet of others (Jn 13:14-15) where the only quality that matters is humility. With service we refuse the call to honor or notable recognition (Pr 15:33). Instead, we are free to count others better than ourselves, eager for their success rather than pursuing our own (Philip 2:3-4).
4. Service helps us maintain objectivity and find our “fit” in the Body of Christ (Rom12:3-8; 1 Cor 12:12-31). In one sense, all of the spiritual gifts are gifts of service, so we no longer need to be in control because “each of us needs all the others” in the Body (Rom 12:5, NLT). According to 1 Cor. 12:7, Eph. 4:7 and 1 Pt. 4:10 God’s Spirit endows every believer with a gift(s). Since every Spiritual gift “serves” to mature the Body of Christ (Eph. 4:16), then whether working miracles, prophesying, teaching, administrating, or whatever, all gifts hold the same value to God (1 Cor. 12:12-26) and should hold the same value to us. All the gifts are objectively valuable.