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.