Excerpt From the book TWELVE SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES.
The Discipline of Serving by Mark Roberts
Paul tells us “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). The world says this is not true. Our culture wants to think it is always better to have servants than it is to be a servant. The true servant knows better. As the servant gives of himself he receives far more than he ever gives — in his spirit and heart. For example, serving opens us up to see how blessed we are. When one has gone to a downtown area and served homeless people who have nearly nothing suddenly we see how rich we are. New channels of gratitude appear. That old home that we tire of suddenly looks like a palace after we have served those who have no home at all. The plain meal that does not seem very fancy looks like it is fit for a king’s banquet when we serve those who gladly line up for soup and a baloney sandwich. Service makes us glad for what we have. Even more, service makes us glad for our position and station from which we can serve. Here is someone in the hospital with a terrible disease. We can go and serve by visiting and cheering the patient up. Then, as the servant leaves the hospital he is more thankful than ever for his own good health and that by it he can help others less fortunate. Perhaps most importantly serving gets us out of measuring life by things and possessions (which easily rob us of joy and gratitude because it is so easy to compare ourselves to others with more) and focuses us on matters of heart and character. We are involved in others instead of just trying to serve self. There is a deep sense of satisfaction in one’s spirit from this kind of living that becomes a deep attraction to do more and serve more so as to know this contentment even more. Is it any wonder that a servant like Paul could contemplate the end of life with calm? Paul tells Timothy “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:6-8). Paul has served so freely and his life is full to overflowing with contentment, even when he is in a wretched place like prison. Gratefulness fills his heart and soul. Such can never come from selfish people who demand everyone wait upon them. The servant receives so much from giving!