When we think about the spiritual disciplines, the discipline of service may be the easiest for us to visualize. In spite of this fact, the spirit of service can often go without enough consideration. The spiritual value in acts of service is very important for Christians to contemplate and understand, as it, in part, reveals the individual’s heart and life.
Let’s discuss the profound example of service that Jesus gave us.
Theme passage: Mark 10:35-45
- When you go into a store or restaurant, what is a sign of “good service”?
- What does it mean when we instruct someone to “practice what you preach”?
- After reading the theme passage, why does Jesus use a servant to demonstrate a person considered to be worthy of greatness? How do you think this also describes a great person in our society?
- Why does God link the themes of service and leadership, and how do you see them relate?
When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. (John 13:12-16, NIV)
Although the disciples did not want Jesus to wash their feet, he did it as a physical sign of service. How does Jesus serve us in our daily lives? Are there motivations in service that lessen or damage the service itself?
Sometimes it is easier to serve people we know rather than strangers or people with whom we do not feel comfortable. Why is that?
Service is the overflow which pours from a life filled with love and devotion. But strictly speaking, there is no call to do that. Service is what I bring to the relationship and is the reflection of my identification with the nature of God. Service becomes a natural part of my life. God brings me into the proper relationship with Himself so that I can understand His call, and then I serve Him on my own out of a motivation of absolute love.
— Oswald Chambers
In verse 45 of Mark 10 we see the clearest statement regarding the saving grace of the Messiahship of Jesus. Why do you think this reference occurs in a passage instructing us to be a servant?
Challenge for growth
- As a group, plan a special community service project for the coming month. As you approach the project, cover all aspects of it in discussion and prayer.
- Spend time in service of those we may not know well, or those we may naturally find it more difficult to serve.
The Spirit of the Disciplines – Dallas Willard
Celebration of Discipline – Richard Foster