We value our opportunities to serve our community. We value doing good, but why is serving others core to our Christian faith? In his book, Letters and Papers from Prison, Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, the Church “is the Church only when it exists for others…not dominating, but helping and serving.” He wrote this because he understood this is the way of Jesus,
“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 10:45
Serving is core to how God loves. For all eternity, the life of God, Father, Son and Spirit, has been of loving service. In John 17 we see the Son glorifies the Father, and the Father glorifies the Son. In John 16 the Spirit glorifies the Father and the Son. Jesus prays to the Father, “All I have is yours, and all you have is mine” (John 17:10). There is no selfishness in God. The Father, Son and Spirit are delighted to glorify the other, serve the other, and give to the other.
Because God’s love serves, it is not only for God, it is for all creation. In love, God created creation to love. In love, God now rescues a creation rejecting His love. We see this at the cross where Jesus serves by surrendering his life for us. Jesus demonstrates God’s sacrificial, serving love for our love-lost world.
Through Jesus’ gracious work, we are now included in God’s circle of eternal, serving love! Here is a rich perspective for our service: we share God’s delight to serve, give, honour, and glorify others. When we serve, we invite people into the life and love God experiences, we experience, and they can now experience too.