Serving Self or Serving Others?

The evangelical church today makes a big deal of serving … and rightly so, the Scripture clearly instructs us to do so. Paul said, “through love serve one another.” (Gal 5:13). Peter said, “as each has received a gift, use it to serve one another.” (1 Pet 4:10). Even Jesus said, “For even the Son of man came not to be served but to serve …” (Mark 10:45). So the issue isn’t whether or not to serve, but rather who exactly is it that we’re serving? I came across a drawing the other day that epitomizes a common evangelical approach to our service, especially in these days of social media.

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The image really speaks for itself doesn’t it? Many of us Christians don’t really mind serving in some way but we absolutely want others to know of our sacrificial, giving, serving, generous, loving, helpful, kind, compassionate, faithful actions. This isn’t an indictment against social media … after all, you’re reading this via the means of social media. But it is an indictment of our heart … a heart that prefers self-serving and self-glory over serving Christ and others.

I’m certainly not immune to this! Just last Saturday the deacons hosted a work day at the church. One of the things I helped with makes a very visible difference, not so much a behind-the-scene type deal but rather one in plain view. Sunday morning, after telling the third person about my prior day’s sacrificial act of service to the Lord and His church, I caught myself and realized I was the guy in the picture above. I was more concerned with serving myself than serving the Lord and His church. I had to stop and repent of my self-righteousness and once again turn to Christ and His righteousness for my hope, acceptance, and standing before God.

So how about you? Are you like me and the guy in the illustration … or are you more like Jesus? Let’s continue to serve … and even take pictures while we’re doing it! But let’s be careful and guard our hearts, constantly asking whether or not we’re serving ourselves or serving others.