Serve One Another: What’s on Your Serving Tray Today?

Serve One Another: What’s on Your Serving Tray Today?

What do the words “through love serve one another” in Galatians 5:13 mean to you? God taught me a lesson about this verse through my husband.

 “Do you have to help move the piano after church?” I asked one Sunday morning years ago. As usual, my husband was the first to volunteer. I’d planned to hurry home after the last amen, serve lunch, and conquer my to-do list.

He called over his shoulder. “This will only take a few minutes. Be right back.” I watched him smile as he used muscle and a willing spirit to help move the grand piano across the worship center.

Similar scenarios arose often. One weekend he helped a friend move furniture, repaired security lights for a widowed friend, and helped our daughter with a wood-working project.

 I was happy he helped, but his service didn’t always fit my plans. My gifts were different, so I didn’t understand his.

Years later when I learned about the spiritual gifts God gives every believer, I repented of my impatience and self-centered attitude. I thanked God for the gift of service He’d given Ray. It’s his God-given ministry.

Called to serve

 Our gifts and styles of service vary. They are uniquely designed works empowered by the Holy Spirit.

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.

1 Peter 4:10 ESV All verses in this post are taken from the ESV.

Some serve by teaching and others, like my husband, minister in practical ways. Some lead well, and others excel in offering encouragement. We are all called to exemplify Christlike behavior, but we’re especially gifted in some areas. Our gifts connect the pieces of His work like a puzzle. We each have a hand in “fitting” together a beautiful picture of God’s love. The Bible teaches

Through love serve one another.

Galatians 5:13

The best example of a servant is Jesus “who … did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant …” (Philippians 2:6-7). The Son of God even washed the dusty feet of weary disciples. He said, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” (Mark 9:35).  

In addition to the Good Samaritan parable, we find numerous examples of service in the New Testament. While Paul was imprisoned, a friend met his needs (2 Timothy 1:16), and Tychicus encouraged the Colossian believers (Colossians 4:7-8). Dorcas fashioned clothing for widows (Acts 9:39), and James teaches us to look after orphans and widows (1:27) and provide for those in need (2:14-17).

In our lives today, when the family of God serves as He intends, more needs are met, fellowship is sweeter, and each member has the joy of serving well. Do you sometimes wonder as I do which needs God is calling you to meet?

When the family of God serves as He intends, more needs are met, fellowship is sweeter, and each member has the joy of serving well. Click To Tweet

A story of service

Consider my story of Rachael, a believer who longs to serve God with her whole heart. After reading her Bible, she knelt to pray beside a table with a large wooden serving tray on top of it.

Father, I trust You to guide my life, but something bothers me. I don’t feel like I have much to offer, but I know Your Word says You gift every believer. I want to serve others well, but, Lord, the needs are great, and my time and skills are limited. I notice needs daily in the lives of family members, church friends, and even strangers. Am I to take food, send money, babysit, clean a house, send a card . . . I’m never quite sure. Who do you want me to serve this week?

Scripture warmed her heart and directed her thinking, as usual.

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you” (Psalm 32:8).

Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

Assured God would guide her, Rachael smiled. She glanced at the wooden serving tray on the table and imagined it filled by God with the resources she’d need for the day—gifts, talents, time, words, material possessions, and smiles. She determined to converse with Him and listen to His promptings as she watched for opportunities. She bowed her head and asked her heavenly Father to open her eyes and her heart.

What about you and me?

Although we may feel like Rachael, with limited skills, God has gifted us to meet the needs He’s planned for us to meet. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).

Let’s take inventory of the ways God equips us with gifts that fit someone’s needs like a missing puzzle piece. Our day and the day of those we serve will be brighter.

Father God, lead me to communicate with You throughout the day that I might serve well in Your name. May You receive glory from those works. 

A brief interruption

Excuse me please for one minute. My husband is calling . . . I’m back and apologize for the delay. My sweetheart was heading out to help a neighbor remove a fallen tree. We had planned to work in our own yard today, but I’m thankful for examples of godly servants in my life, aren’t you?                                   

Let us hear from you

Please share your thoughts about serving others. How has someone served you or someone you loved? Why do you think serving others is so important? How can you use your gifts to serve Jesus and others this week?

All Scripture verses are taken from the ESV.

Please feel free to share this post!

30 thoughts on “Serve One Another: What’s on Your Serving Tray Today?

  1. I love your story of Rachael and her heart to serve. How wonderful that we can count on God to instruct us. Thanks, Jeannie. God bless!

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Thank you, Nancy. It’s easy for me to get overwhelmed with the needs I see. God reminds me to listen to Him, and yield to His leadership to serve as He directs, not as I think. I, too, am thankful for His guidance.

  2. Loved this post, and how you point out that while we each serve in different ways, using the different gifts God has equipped us with, we have a shared goal. I paused to think of ways I try and serve our “family of faith”, and then considered how my wife serves. Very differently, and sometimes to the same folks. I thought about how God orchestrates the service of His body, and I stand in awe when I see the “concert of love and compassion” He brings together in perfect harmony. Thank you Ms. Jeannie.

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      How beautifully you described His work, J. D.–“the ‘concert of love and compassion’ He brings together in perfect harmony.” You mentioned that sometimes you and your wife serve the same people albeit in different ways. That’s a perfect picture of our uniquely designed spiritual gifts. Thank you for enriching our conversation today.

  3. “Working together, we connect like puzzle pieces to form a beautiful picture of God’s love.” I love this line, Jeannie. In my own life, it particularly touches my heart when someone reaches out to serve my child, who has special needs. I also teach her to contribute to others as she is able. As you say, God fits us together like a puzzle for His great and eternal purposes.

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Annie, it warms my heart to think of people serving your daughter and your instruction to guide her to serve as she can. What a beautiful picture of the body of Christ. I appreciate you taking the time to add value.

  4. When my husband, Jim, was a teenager, his youth director urged the boys to tithe their time as well as their finances, which were meager at best among the boys. Jim followed through until today, at age 84, he still serves through diaster relief labor, feeding the hungry, teaching Bible study groups, among so many other services. I believe there are only two ways he has not served our various churches: he never preached a sermon and never led the choir. He’s been my inspiration for 54 years and counting. I admit there have been times when I wished he would say ‘no’ to a request, but, in hindsight, I realize I would have been disappointed if he had.

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Oh, Peggy, thank you for sharing this beautiful example of your husband serving the Lord. I’m sure you’ve served well, also. I love the idea of tithing our time because that is also a gift from God. Thank you for your encouraging comments which honor God and bless us.

    • My love language is helping others!

      • Post Author Jeannie Waters

        Yes, you do, KB. You are a sweet example of a servant who lives to meet the needs of others. Thank you so much for reading and responding.

  5. Jeannie, what a wonderful post. Ray’s gifts are selfless and loving. He definitely has the gift of service! I enjoy your gift of writing. Thank you for blessing us with the words of your heart.

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Thanks so much, Evelyn. Ray’s gift of service is easy to see as he meets practical needs without any fanfare or spotlights. I appreciate your consistent encouragement and marvel at all of the ways you serve God.

  6. Love this message! Serving together is a wonderful way to share the love of Christ.

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Melissa, it’s fun to serve with others, isn’t it? Some of my fondest memories come from days of group efforts to meet needs. I know you serve your grandchildren well, and I suspect, lots of others, too. Thank you for reading and adding a comment.

  7. Your husband reminds me of my loved one. And, like you, I didn’t always understand his servant’s heart. Thank you for this touching and inspiring message reminding us we all have gifts and our Father will equip us to use them to His service.

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Katherine, I think it’s easy for us to misunderstand the ways others are gifted by God when our talents and ways are different. Viewing our varied gifts as puzzle pieces helped me see the whole picture better. I appreciate your kind words.

  8. What a beautiful story of Rachael’s desire to serve. It’s incredible how God can direct us in serving others. He knows their needs and our gifts and just how to make them fit together, like a puzzle.
    I happily shared your post on Twitter.

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Connie, thank you so much for sharing this message and commenting. I’m glad you mentioned the way God knows the needs of those around us. Our wise God matches their needs to our gifts. What an honor to serve Him and people we meet.

  9. Serving others in the name of Christ is a daily offering not a one time event. We are blessed in the body of Christ with our differing gifts to help each other and grow God’s kingdom. Thanks for sharing with us, Jeannie, through your gift of encouragement.

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Barbara, what a good reminder you included–“Serving others in the name of Christ is a daily offering not a one time event.” During some seasons of life we may serve less or differently from other seasons, but service to God is a vital part of the Christian lifestyle. I appreciate your comments so much.

  10. What a gem of a husband you have. Don’t you love how God uses the people he places in our lives to teach us? I love the idea of visualizing a serving tray filled with resources for serving others. Love in our heart and a smile on our face are always accessible for us.

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      He is a gem, Candyce, and I’ve learned so much from him. Yes, I love the way God chooses the lessons we need to learn. I’m glad you enjoyed the post and liked the serving tray example. When I think of a serving tray, I remember everything I need to serve God is ready and waiting–all gifts from Him. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  11. Jeannie, in your stories, you’ve captured the essence of the different gifts we all have and that they all contribute to building God’s kingdom! Thank you !

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      I appreciate your kind comments, Kathy. Isn’t it amazing that God bestows gifts on us and allows us to use them for His kingdom’s purposes? What an honor. I’m glad you enjoyed the post.

  12. We offer our tray to God and He fills it with the things He wants us to offer back to others. I love the visual you’ve given us and the reminder that our trays — and what they’re filled with — are all different. And that’s OK! Thank you for that encouragement.

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Leigh, you’re so kind to read and leave a comment. I like the visual of the tray, too because it reminds me God provides what I need each day to serve Him. Like you, I appreciate the variety of gifts we have. Thanks so much.

  13. Thanks Jeannie. My husband and yours would get along well with each other. I too find myself often needing to appreciate another’s gifting when it is so very different from mine. Your post was convicting and encouraging at the same time!

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Maybe they’ll meet someday, Sylvia. 😉 It’s hard to remember we’re gifted differently sometimes. Thank you for joining the conversation, Sylvia.

  14. Rachel is such an amazing story. I love reading about her. Thanks for sharing

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