By Chris Bates
A Guide for Serving
It occurred to me some time ago that there is one thing the Disciples did perhaps more than any other. They walked. They walked from city to city, from one home to another. Several of them walked up to Jesus on the shore when He called them. They walked together after the crucifixion and they walked as they then went out to the world. The important point to that realization is that while they walked, they carried the message and served others.
We are built as humans to relate to others. Whether we do so selfishly or in service is up to each of us. At the beginning of the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25–37), Jesus answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind and love your neighbor as yourself.” After Jesus relays the story of which man was a neighbor to the robbed man, he tells the law expert to, “Go and do likewise.” Time and time again, the Word tells us to serve others and to love our neighbor as ourselves. How can that play out in each of our lives today?
Recently I told a young man whom I am mentoring that the only way I can be sure I am telling him the best information is to share my own experiences. If I give advice or opinions, then it is contrived and interpreted to some degree. In contrast, if I become transparent about my own experiences, faults, and life lessons, then hopefully he can identify, relate, and learn from my errors and strengths.
I can best be of service to others by sharing my own truth, then walking with them in their own journey. For example, I sometimes get the blessing of working with others who, like me, have Type 1 diabetes. If I give direct advice and direction, I am playing the role of a medical professional, which I am not. However, when I share my own past challenges, frustrations, and successes and how it relates to their trials with the disease, I am then able to serve them most truthfully and practically.
My wife and I were invited by some great friends to the red carpet premiere of Same Kind Of Different As Me in October. Ron Hall and company did an outstanding job with the book and the movie as an inspired story of being neighbors as God intends for us to be. Even in serving others, it is important for us to consider that it can be far easier to serve those that are like us, but far more difficult to serve those who are not. In the story, Denver Moore said, “The Word says God don’t give us credit for lovin’ the folks we want to love anyway. No, He gives us credit for loving the unlovable.” We can all be unlovable in some way at some point in life and may need others to serve us as well.
We were discussing recently in our men’s Bible study small group that discipleship is made up of two things—learning and serving. As we walk through life, we have many opportunities to do both of those things. If we are seeking, we can learn from so many resources, whether the Word, a friend or a spouse, a mentor, or perhaps the mistakes of others. We need to never stop learning because life is a journey, not a destination.
The opportunities to serve others are constant and all around us every day and we all have experience that is valuable to others. Our challenge is to go and use that experience, share it with our neighbors (ALL of our neighbors) and walk with them on their journey. C.S. Lewis said, “What draws people to be friends is that they see the same truth. They share it.”
Even in Jesus’s parting words to the Disciples he shared the Great Commission for all of us, saying, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age,” (Matthew 28:19-20).
So, go out to share your journey, walk with others, and serve them well.
Chris is President & Founder of Agora Company, a marketing, website, and advertising company based in Jackson, and can be reached at Chris@AgoraCompany.com. He and his wife, Stacy, and their children live in Madison.