by Ryan Duncan
Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." - Mark 10:43-45
Sometimes, I get restless. I went to college at Taylor University, a small Christian school in the middle of Cornfield, Indiana. Though Taylor wasn’t very big, it strove to serve Christ, and encouraged its students to impact the world for God. During the January term, when you could sleep all day and goof-off all night, Taylor offered something called Lighthouse Missions. Instead of wasting their brief vacation, students became a part of service-learning projects that allowed them to share Christ with a world in need.
When Spring Break came around, and the beaches of Florida were calling, it sent students everywhere from Russia to the neighboring town of Grant County, where they engaged in housing projects, orphan care, and outreach. It was tough giving up those precious vacation days, but it felt good to know you were serving Christ. Unfortunately, after graduation opportunities like these are harder to come by. With a forty to fifty-hour work week, not to mention budgeted money and vacation time, jetting off to some foreign location isn’t something you can just do.
I can remember sitting in church, boiling with frustration because I couldn't just go do something like I had in college. God clearly has a sense of irony, because at that moment the pastor stood up and asked for volunteers to help pack up after the service. My problem? I had become the “wealthy giver.” Not sure what I mean? Read this story in Mark 12:
Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything--all she had to live on." - Mark 12:41-44
It’s amazing how serving Christ can easily become something selfish. I was only interested in serving if it was on my terms, and because of that, I let a lot of opportunities pass me by. The truth is that volunteering for a church nursery could be just as important in God’s eyes as building houses in another country.
An old professor once told my class that the kingdom of God is built on willing hearts. When we choose to follow God, we are laying the bricks of his kingdom, and creating a sturdy foundation for others to stand on. So get involved, and if you feel God leading you toward a big opportunity, take it. But don’t be too proud to serve in the small places. Sometimes it’s the little things that make all the difference.
Intersecting Faith and Life: What opportunities does your church offer for serving? Take a moment to look them over and see if one is good for you. Churches are always looking for volunteers to help with children and young adults.
The Characters of Christmas is a podcast created to help you take a fresh look at the Christmas story by getting to know the minor characters that played a part in Jesus’ birth. It is the companion to Dan Darling's book "The Characters of Christmas: The Unlikely People Caught Up in the Story of Jesus."