“What does it mean to serve one another in love? Practically it means to labor to make others successful.” – Jack Miller
I’ve never been one for New Year’s resolutions but I do believe there is something that God has revealed to me on a deeper level this year. I believe that he has revealed to me what it means to actually “serve in love”.
Now I know that this is something that we may have heard, but do we truly understand what this means? Like in the quote above, it means that we “labor to make others successful”. This is profound because this goes completely against what we are taught about being successful in life. We grow up believing that we have to be the best in school and in our jobs. In a sense, we want to do our best but we want to achieve our goals to the glory of God, not to the glory of ourselves. I read in Michael Horton’s book, Ordinary, that the word “ambition” used to be something that was warned against. He says that it did not originally mean to have drive or initiative but “it meant putting oneself forward, as in an election, but in a spirit of rivalry that is not beneath resorting to unscrupulous tactics.” This is not serving in love but rather serving selfishly.
Serving in love is something that requires humility. We must humble ourselves and labor and labor to make others successful. Think about our relationships with other Christians, those that we are discipling. We must pray for them and labor to see that they are being sanctified into the image of Christ. We must do what we can to encourage and push them forward in whatever ministry they are called to. We must not be afraid that they are going to be more successful than us because they honestly might be. However, what is important is the advancement of God’s kingdom, not our own kingdoms.
By serving in love like this, we are modeling Christ. He came and lived a perfect life, and taught us how to truly serve each other. He gave us this example in washing his disciples feet:
“When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” – John 13:12-17
Jesus also took our sins upon himself and died a criminal’s death on a cross so that we could gain his righteousness. This selfless act allows us to live selfless lives to the glory of the Father just like he did. He also gave us the Holy Spirit to help us and give glory to himself (John 16:13-14).
So for the year of 2016, I hope and pray that I have the humility to serve others in love. To continue to do all that I do to the glory of God and not myself.