By DR. TEMIKA M. SIMMONS
Serve together as Christ served us
“For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” – Galatians 5:13, KJV
There is a familiar story of a young boy who went door to door selling goods to pay his way through school. One day he found himself quite hungry and, with his last dime, decided to ask the individual at the next house for a meal. But when a young lady opened the door, he lost his nerve and instead asked for a drink of water. The lady, feeling as though he must be hungry, brought him a tall glass of milk. Gratefully, slowly, he drank the milk, then asked, “How much do I owe you?” The woman said, “Nothing at all. I was taught to never accept pay for kindness.” Renewed and encouraged, the boy thanked her and left very happy and appreciative that someone thought he was important enough for a glass of milk!
What a difference we can often make in the lives of many with simple gestures of kindness!
The Bible is filled with rich examples of the value of serving others. From the widow at Zarephath sharing the last of her water and bread with Elijah (1 Kings 17:7-16), to Jesus feeding 5,000 hungry people with five loaves and two fish (John 6:1-14), we see the value of faithful service. Again and again the Bible is clear regarding God’s love for us and how we can, in turn, demonstrate that love to others through service. Again and again the stunning life of Jesus Christ provides the example that God thought we were important enough for salvation!
Therefore, if we in our wretched, sinful state can be important enough for the Most High God to lay down His life in love for us, surely we can love and serve those around us. Surely, we can work together to make our communities and schools better. Surely, we can band together to serve those without homes, without food, without freedom, without family, without hope. Just as the Bible declares that nothing can separate us from God’s love (Romans 8:35-39), we should allow nothing to keep us from joining our hands together in serving His people in our greatest demonstration of love for Christ!
Some years later, the woman who shared her milk became critically ill. Her prognosis was grim, and doctors referred her to a specialist after finally diagnosing her with a rare disease. The specialist to which she was referred became determined to save her life after meeting her and learning where she was from. He meticulously worked her case and personally led every aspect of her treatment in an effort to save her life. Following a successful surgery and long recovery, the woman worried she would not be able to pay the bill. When the bill finally arrived, there was a note scribbled across the front: “Paid in full with one glass of milk.” The young specialist who for months provided her with such meticulous care, gratefully returned the blessing she’d provided for him as a child so many years before.
Ralph Waldo Emerson is quoted as saying, “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
Indeed, kindness and service are wonderful virtues that reflect the character of God. It is remarkable to understand how our world can be changed when we together love and serve each other in ways that remind us that God thinks we are important enough! Let us serve, together!
A native of Jackson, Dr. Temika M. Simmons serves as director for the Local Government Leadership Institute at Delta State University. She lives and worships in the Mississippi Delta with her family and friends.