Serving — Not Just Consuming

In Scripture, we are called away from merely viewing life as a consumer. Life is more than achieving, attaining, and acquiring.

It’s not about my gaining and getting. Instead, it’s about my giving and getting involved.

We are called toward this beautiful reality that when we belong to Christ, we’ve been rewired to not merely consume, but to make a contribution. We are to get involved with our communities, using the gifts God has given us.

We cannot merely sit on the sidelines of life—consuming. We must get involved—serving.

In 1 Peter 4, the apostle is coming to the end of his letter. He admonishes us through charity and hospitality to “minister one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”

When Jesus walked the dusty roads of Palestine, He noticed people. Throughout the gospel stories in Scripture, Jesus noticed people—hurting people, broken people, and even corrupt people—so much so that He was criticized for eating and fraternizing with publicans (tax collectors) and sinners.

Truth be told, in order to serve, one must first see. We will never really serve others until we consider that the needs of others are as important as our own. After all, Christ died not only to save people from something, but He also died and rose again to save us Christians to something . . . that is, service.

The true meaning of service includes seeing all people as Christ saw them, created in the image of God with inherent value and worth. It involves making friends with them, ministering to their needs, winning their confidence, and then pointing them heavenward to Christ, the Redeemer (See The Ministry of Healing, p. 143).

Ellen White writes: “Many have no faith in God and have lost confidence in man. But they appreciate acts of sympathy and helpfulness. As they see one with no inducement of earthly praise or compensation come into their homes, ministering to the sick, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, comforting the sad, and tenderly pointing all to Him of whose love and pity the human worker is but the messenger—as they see this, their hearts are touched. Gratitude springs up. Faith is kindled. They see that God cares for them, and they are prepared to listen as His word is opened”—The Ministry of Healing, p. 145.

As we get involved in serving one another (not just being a consumer), whether in small tasks or in large, and as we live with a servant’s heart, we are putting the love of God on display. In John 13:35 we’re told: By this (by the way you love and serve one another), all men will know you belong to me.

One thing is for sure: serving others by bringing the restoring love of God to those who need it blesses you.

In Christ, we’ve been rewired to serve . . . . to give, to get involved, and to partner in God’s restoring work on Planet Earth. May this be our heart’s desire as we await the soon coming of our precious Savior, Jesus Christ.

Donald G. King is president of the Atlantic Union Conference and chairman of the Atlantic Union College Board of Trustees.