What if I told you serving others in the name of Jesus Christ is a form of worship AND can be instrumental in your healing? Would you believe me?Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.
SERVE the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.
The King James Version of this Psalm is beautiful, but our word ‘serve’(used here) is a better translation to the Hebrew word ‘ābad’ than our word ‘worship’ (used in the NLT). Yes, worship is a huge part of ‘ābad,’ but it’s only part of the picture.
‘Ābad’(v) means to work or serve. And when used in connection with serving God, there’s no implication of toilsome, back-breaking, energy-sapping labor. Instead, ‘ābad’ intimates when we serve God with our worship, it’s a joy-filled experience! We’re unfettered and unhindered—free! How can this not make us shout with gladness?
But ‘ābad’ isn’t just about serving God; it also refers to serving others.
In Matthew 24 and 25 Jesus tells his disciples about the future, His return, and the Final Judgement. He explains that no one but the Fathers knows when He will return so they must remain watchful, ready and prepared. He illustrated this further with two parables. The first parable emphasized the importance of being prepared for His return—being watchful, ready. The second focused on how we use our time, talents, and possessions to serve Jesus in His absence. Those who diligently prepare for His return by investing the things God’s given them in the work of furthering the Kingdom will enjoy rewards, while those who squander or bury the things God’s given them will face punishment.
Then He says, “For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.”(Vs. 35-36NLT).
I love the next part. I’m not sure why. Maybe because I can imagine the scene taking place on the Mount of Olives or maybe because I feel like this could be a scene from my life…I’m not sure, but…
The disciples are confused. Can’t you picture them looking at each other, scratching their heads, and wracking their brains trying to figure out when Jesus was sick, naked, imprisoned, thirsty, and hungry but coming up with nothing?
How often do we share in their confusion? How do we love and serve a God who doesn’t need us but wants us? What can we give Him when everything we have is His, including the very breath that fills our lungs? How can we meet needs for one to whom needs don’t exist?
Then right on the heels of Jesus giving life to their questions, He said some of the most beautiful words ever—You do this for me when you take care of my kids! When you love others. When you serve others in my Name! When He said, “I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!” (40NLT).
Serving others in the Name of Jesus Christ, for His glory and honor, is a form of worship! It’s a powerful way for us to say thank you to God for being our Creator and Redeemer. The best part is you can be a hot mess and still serve others. And you don’t need specialized training, just a sincere heart.
Serving others in the Name of Jesus Christ can take many forms:
- Volunteering at Church: usher, greeter, children’s ministry, youth ministry, small group leader, etc.
- Financially supporting parachurch ministries or missionaries
- Sponsoring Children through organizations like World Vision
- Prison ministry
- Shut-in ministry
- Short-term mission trips
- Serving at shelters, food shelves
- Talking to the lonely person in the cafeteria, hall, break room
- Paying for someone else’s drive-thru order
- Listen to a friend pour our his or her heart/cry with them/hold them
- Praying for others
You get the picture. There are many ways to love and encourage others. To be Jesus with skin on. To be the only Bible some people will ever read. To put your faith in action.
When you sever others in Jesus Name, the focus is off YOU and on THEM. When God uses you to bless others, a miracle happens! You not only learn more about Him and who He is, but He plants seeds of joy in your heart and starts the (next stage of) the healing process.
I’m not sure how it all works, but when I’m obeying His nudges to serve others in simple or significant ways, Jesus grows my faith. And as He uses me to love and encourage others, He loves and encourages me. When He uses me to facilitate healing in others—He heals me.
And then I fall in love with Him all over again.
Beloved, I know it will be the same for you too.
Just like it is for a precious friend of mine. Over the last few years, she’s been running marathons to raise money to give children in the Congo access to clean drinking water through our church’s partnership with World Vision.
Every day before dawn she’s awake, lacing up her shoes while her family slips into another dream cycle. She steps out her door to train, to log the miles, to get her body ready for the next 26.2. Rain. Sun. Cold. Wind. Doesn’t matter, she’s out there. Are there days she’s not feeling it? YES! But she does it anyway. Why? Because God burdened her heart with these kid’s need; He lit a fire of passion for them inside her that shines like a beacon to all around her.
AND SHE DOESN’T EVEN LIKE TO RUN!
But she thinks of these kids as she runs. Of those who no longer have to walk 20+ miles twice a day for dirty water to drink, but now have safe, clean water for life because of the money she has been able to raise. She rejoices that these kids now have time to get an education and learn about proper hygiene because they’re no longer walking to the waterhole, but instead to the center of their village. But it’s those who are still making that journey for dirty water that propel her out the door each morning. It’s those that are literally dying for water that push her through the pain, exhaustion, and sore muscles as she completes another marathon.
And if you ask her if it’s worth it, her eyes light up, and she says, YES!
I can’t wait to share more of her inspiring story in January, especially how her faith has exploded in the process of this mission for clean water.
Beloved, God uses us to facilitate change in others lives and, in the process, He changes ours.