‘Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.’ 1 Timothy 3.13
It is easy to see how serving others gives us a good reputation, especially amongst those we serve, but Paul is saying more in this passage. He says that service brings us an assurance - or a boldness - in our faith. How does this work?
Paul suggests that when we serve others our faith in Christ increases. The reason for this is because when we serve we are becoming Christ-like, so we will naturally begin to see things from Christ’s perspective. All too often we have a tendency to think about how other people might benefit us, whereas if we approach them with an attitude of how we can serve them, then we have caught the heart and attitude of Jesus. This gives us insights into his character that we could probably not gain in any other way.
A common question is, “What would Jesus do?” This can sometimes leave us feeling a little inadequate as we face up to the fact that we are unlikely to respond just as he would, but perhaps an alternative question should be, “How would Jesus serve?” The answer might be equally challenging, but in seeking to serve others instead of receiving from them, we will begin to see the world from a whole new perspective – his!
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The Revd John Ryeland, Director of The Christian Healing Mission