The Heart of Service

Be hospitable to one another without complaint.  1 Peter 4:9

Is service really service if it is done begrudgingly? Is it really service if it done boastfully?  Is service an action of the hands and feet or an attitude of the heart?

This verse says that we are to be hospitable to one another without complaint.  The NIV says to offer hospitality without grumbling.  The Living Bible says to cheerfully share with those in need.  What is the attitude of your heart toward serving?

Perhaps the greatest illustration in the Bible of serving is when Jesus washed the disciples feet before the last supper.  If ever there was someone who had a good excuse not to serve, it was Jesus.  John says, “Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father.  Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.”  What a great verse!  You see service shows others that we love them. 

What if Jesus had grumbled loudly about washing the disciples feet.  After all, who would want to get on their hands and knees with the prospect of washing twenty-two feet (that’s 220 grimy toes, but who’s counting?) to get all of the dust and dirt off of them?  Jesus could have groaned loudly:  “Well, I guess I will wash all of your feet…since no one else is going to do it.”  “Man, Peter, you still smell like fish!”  “I always get stuck washing the feet!” “This is the last time I do this for you…” 

What if Jesus had boasted arrogantly about his service?  “Attention everyone!  I Jesus, the Son of God, who knows the number of hairs on your head, will now stoop to the level of a servant and wash your feet.”  “Yes, I know it is far beneath me, but I am glad to do it for you!”

Instead, he didn’t have to say a word.  He simply saw a need, took the necessary steps, and served his disciples. As John said, he showed them the full extent of his love.

This picture is a beautiful example of the way we ought to serve: 

Instead of making excuses, we should serve with joy.

Instead of complaining about serving, we should serve quietly.

Instead of boasting about our service, we should boast in the one who showed us how to serve.

We must serve others as an outpouring of the love that He showed us.

Father, give me a heart of service.  Instead of being so focused on my needs, and myself help me to see others around me.  Give me opportunities to serve you with the gifts you have blessed me with. Bless me with a heart to serve others as you served us by laying down your life for us.  In Jesus name, Amen.