In a previous post I’ve pointed out the destructive nature of pride in our lives. In this post I want to focus on the fourth of five ways we can practice humility and kill the pride in our lives.
4. Serve others unselfishly.
Our culture says the way to be great is to have others serve you. Jesus says the way to be great is to serve others. Jesus said in Mark 10:43-44, “…whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.” This is so hard for me to get through to people because of the culture we live in. Our culture in America has been sending the message year after year “It’s all about you.” And so many people – so many Christian people – have believed the lie. So in pride, they get so caught up in their activities and their agenda that they have no time to give to God. But God doesn’t just want you to offer up your talent and treasure to him, he also wants you to offer your time as well. Only humble people see the value in serving others. Proud people have no time to make others the focus of their attention and concern.
At the heart of pride is an attitude that says “I’m more important than you.” There was a season of my life (namely the first year of the church) where in pride I viewed my schedule as busier than everyone else’s (I had no staff and so few volunteers at that time) and whatever I was working on (working to lead people to Christ) as more important than what others were doing. So on my way home everyday I would pass the huge line of cars on Rt 5 that were waiting their turn to get onto Rt 57 in Agawam. It would be a quarter mile long and I would pass everyone and then cut in right at the exit. That was me saying “I’m more important than all of you.”
Now I use that illustration, because that same attitude can infiltrate a church. When you don’t serve you’re basically saying “I’m more important than everyone else.”
- Some don’t serve because they say “I’m really busy.” Newsflash! Everyone is busy! And it’s so prideful to think that what you’re doing is so important than you can’t break away long enough to serve a bit. Before moving away we had an executive at Bay State Hospital attending New Day. He and his whole family served every week even though he worked crazy hours. Some years ago we had the manager of a car dealership working 100 hours a week that would come to set up every Sunday morning. It’s so prideful to think that you are the only one with a busy schedule.
- When you don’t serve you’re saying that others should serve you, but you’re too important to serve others. When you let others greet you, prepare snacks and coffee for you, watch your kids, prepare worship for you, and prepare a message for you…all so you can sit back and enjoy it all without contributing in any way – that’s selfish. That’s the typical proud American consumer mentality, not the humble Christlike contributor mentality.
Now I hope you’ll serve on Sundays – but don’t just serve on Sundays. Serve throughout the week too! This is a lifestyle things we’re going for here:
- Serve your family. My grandfather on my dad’s side served my grandmother by filling her car with gas. He did such a good job doing this, that when he died she had to be taught how to do it because she had never done it before. Find a way to serve your spouse – it’s a way to practice humility.
- Serve the people you work with (especially if you’re the boss). When you’re the boss it’s easy to think you’re too important to serve. After all, you hired others to work for you, not so you could work for them. But I would remind you of Jesus’ example. In John 13:3-5 we see Jesus, the boss, washing his disciples feet. He served them. Ask if your co-workers need help unloading their car. Ask if you can get them a coffee or drink from the fridge. Ask them if you can pick up something while you’re out. These are ways to practice humility.
- Serve strangers. A couple months back I was at Donut Dip in West Springfield picking up some food for New Day Crew (the setup & teardown ministry here at New Day). There were two ladies that asked for a ride up the way. I not only got to give them a ride but also got to share the gospel – the good news that there’s peace with God through Jesus.
Why should we serve? It’s the ultimate act of humility and it’s the way of Christ. Philippians 2:5-7 says, “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus…he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant…”