Serve God and Others

Lenten Devotions

A Walk through the Book of Luke

March 29, 2023

Luke 17:7-10

“Serve God and others, not for glory, but because it’s the right thing to do.”

I’ve told this story before, but I believe it ties into today’s parable nicely. It is a story I shared in my book, “Adventures in Youth Ministry.” The title of the chapter is “Teaching them to serve from the heart.”

Several years ago, during a Sunday evening youth night, I asked my students to take a few moments to develop some unique ways we could serve others. I gave each of them a sticky note and a pen. After giving the students a few minutes to ponder the question, I asked them to write down two ways we could serve others as a group or as individuals. Then I went around the room, asking them to read their suggestions out loud.

Some of the ideas pertained to Summer Servant Events, while others were delivering food to needy families (which we regularly did). Many of the students had difficulty coming up with more than one idea. Part of the reason was that they were thinking inside the ‘box.’ By the way, this questioning technique is a method that was judiciously used by Jesus when He had something to teach His followers. Other times He did this when He was about to evaluate his disciples understanding and faith.

Let’s get back to the students serving ideas so you can get the real gist of what I’m talking about. The students were caught up in a cycle of service projects they participated in throughout the year. So, they were a bit stumped about what else they could do to serve others.

Then it happened. To me, the simplest thought from one of my students was the most profound. As a matter of fact, once his idea was put in place, it had a snowball effect that got bigger and bigger.

Any guesses on what his idea was. Here’s that, the young man said. “We could go to the mall and open the doors for people.

Some students giggled, thinking it was too simple and silly of an idea. Yet, my mouth dropped open as I saw an opportunity to serve not only outside the group for others but also within the group and a way to set a standard.

So, we left the youth house, went to the mall, and held doors open as people entered and left the building. Seems pretty simple, yet it was and is a service to others.

And then it happened as I hoped it would. The students started holding the door open for the whole group wherever we traveled. For example, if we went to the movies, one of the youth would grab the door and hold it open for the others.

At the mall, a restaurant, a hotel, a youth convention, and even the bathroom. It became contagious. And the best part was most people said, “thank you.” They appreciated the kindness of being served.

********************The Point******************

In today’s parable, Jesus stresses the same point to His disciples that I wanted my students to grasp. Serve others without seeking praise or commendation. (Of course, I learned from the best servant of all, Jesus).

 “Suppose one of you has a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Will he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, ‘Come along now and sit down to eat’? Won’t he rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready, and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that, you may eat and drink’? Will he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? So, you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.'”             

Luke 17:7-10

This is another short parable Jesus is sharing with His disciples. What’s the point?

Jesus taught His disciples many things while He was on earth. One of the teachings was to be a servant to all by making the needs of others more important than your own.

The point is, as His disciples, we should not look for special praise or accolades for fulfilling our responsibility as servants of Christ. We should never think more highly of ourselves compared to others who may be caught up in sin.

“When all is said and done, every disciple (including you and me) is an unworthy servant in need of God’s grace and forgiveness.” (People’s Bible Commentary, Luke, Victor H. Prange, Pp. 191.)

Without being too redundant, always remember. God comes first. Our duty as a servant of Jesus is to fulfill His directive: “Go and make disciples of all nations.” As we do this, and serve others, don’t let pride take you over as you do good works for God.

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