Whom Shall I Serve?
By: Frank Goodloe
For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many. Mark 10:45 NRSV
Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:37- 40
In the United Methodist Church and throughout the Christian world, Lent is a time of repentance, fasting and preparation for the coming of Easter, a time when we again open our eyes to the amazing gift of God’s Son, for our salvation. It is a time for self-examination and reflection. Today, as Christians focus on their relationship with God, many often choose to put their faith into action by volunteering to serve and give of themselves to others, just as Christ did.
We remember that Jesus came to earth not to be served, but to serve… even to the point of giving his life for us. How, then, can we best approach a mission of serving as Jesus served? We can take our lead from Jesus’ answer to the challenge by the Pharisees who asked, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” His answer, we all know. He told us to love our God and to love our neighbors as ourselves.
Serving is at the heart of Jesus’ ministry. Making the connection between Jesus feeding the five thousand and setting up a food pantry is easy. God serves others through us. Jesus calls us to be more than absent contributors. There is more to serving.
To follow the example of Jesus and serve all people requires us to get involved in the lives of others. Jesus valued relationships. Jesus’ conversation with the Samaritan woman, making time for children or comforting his friends Martha and Mary serves as a blueprint for moving us beyond projects and anonymous charitable activities to relationships.
Following the life of Jesus leads us into the mess of life where lives are transformed and Christ is made known. Whom shall I serve? Who is our neighbor? It is the homeless veteran on a street corner or living under a bridge. It is the LBGTQ or transgender youth contemplating suicide. It is the person who is mourning and needing someone just to sit and silently share their grief. It is the family member you have not spoken to in years because of some hurt, real or imagined. It is any of the least or the best of his children who can provide your mission….your path to serving as Jesus served.