Service often gets a bad wrap, especially in the church. It is taught as a requirement for worth or value…that people who are good, humble, kind and holy are the ones who serve without reservation. The quantity and quality of your service is what proves your commitment and establishes your identity and value.
But the life of Jesus paints a very different picture. His life was marked by one goal… to serve His Father’s mission by demonstrating His nature. His service wasn’t done as a should or have to…it was done in the context of His position in a family. He was a son…and so He served His Father. He served from His identity not for it.
If you come over to my house as a guest, most likely I have painstakingly prepared my home for you. I have tidied the maze of puzzles, crayons and dolls that generally decorate my living room floor. I have scrubbed my downstairs bathroom and vacuumed my floor. Instead of frozen chicken fingers and canned green beans, I have prepared something scratch made and served it family style on my best dishes around my dining room table. And I have done it all with joy because I love making guests feel welcome in my home.
But after dinner, I have zero expectation of you washing the dishes. I don’t expect you to help me clean the kitchen or wash a load of laundry before you leave. Those things are my job because this is my home and you are my guest. Now, my four-year-olds have a different set of expectations. Nightly, I expect them to take their plate and cup to the sink. They are expected to clean up their toys before bed and help me put away their clean laundry (let me emphasize the word help here for if you have ever watched a four-year-old attempt to fold clothes you understand what I mean).
At first glance it might look like I love my guests more than my children because I made their dinner experience easier and more enjoyable since I required nothing of them. But quite the opposite is true. My children aren’t expected to serve me to earn my love…they already have it. They are expected to serve because they have a different position in my home…they are not guests…they are my daughters. And it’s not just my home; it’s their home as well so I entrust them with responsibilities that take care of our home.
At the end of my life, it is my children who will receive an inheritance from me, not my guests. You could come over for dinner every Friday night I’m alive and if your last name isn’t Armour and you don’t share 50% of my DNA, I’m probably not leaving you a penny in my will. Inheritance…this is the reward of serving. If you want to see your dreams fulfilled, start with serving someone else’s vision and eagerly anticipate the inheritance that gets deposited into your life. It won’t come easily…Jesus gave His life to receive His inheritance…but the most valuable things in life come through a lot of hard work (an easy example being labor…ask any mother you know) and they are worth every moment.