Serving is a Christlike way of living. Jesus himself came as one who served (Matthew 20:28). Throughout the history of the church, Christians have grappled with how to live out the good news of Jesus that the kingdom of God is both here and yet to come. Our calling as followers of Jesus is to proclaim the good news by living on earth as if in heaven. Every act of love, justice and peace is a taste of how God’s world is to be.
We live this calling personally in our daily work and in our local communities. In exploring this habit, it will be important to both honour and support those who serve day by day in all sorts of ways.
We live this calling corporately as churches, for example through youth and children’s work, care for older people, Street Pastors, debt advice or refugee welcome centres. Exploring this holy habit will give you the opportunity to celebrate what is being done and consider what God may be calling you to do.
We live this calling in partnership with others, with other churches, with people of peace in the community and with other groups – including other faith groups who are committed to serving the common good. As you explore this habit, be mindful of those you partner with or could partner with.
Serving is best when it is mutual and reciprocal. We need to beware of patronising do-gooding culture and seek a Christlike way of serving that is glad to honour others by receiving as well as giving.
The church believes that it has a message of hope and good news to share with the whole world – the transformation offered by and through Jesus Christ. The new life that Jesus brings to individuals will be seen both in active membership of the Christian church and in a life of mission and serving that mirrors Jesus’ own life. How the message of good news is shared effectively through our words and deeds in the 21st century is one of the biggest challenges for the church today. This is why we must continue to practise the Holy Habit of Serving as we reach out to others.
As Christians, we are part of a tradition that seeks holiness wherever we are and whatever we are doing. As such, our theology of Christian serving is an expression of our understanding of God’s desire for a just world and our common calling as the people of Jesus to be agents of that divine yearning.
It is our hope and prayer that through this holy habit, you too will be inspired by the Holy Spirit to discover what serving means in your context. Who is today’s ‘all’ in Acts 2:45? Does serving always involve sacrifice? What are the marks of Christian serving? What is the link between serving (in all senses of the word) and ministry?