The Bare Soul - February 12, 2012
Servant Evangelism

Mark 10:45 - For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.

Have we ever stopped and considered how much we expect of others in our daily lives? At times, we often require others to be more benevolent and giving then we are willing to be on their behalf. If we are honest, there are many days we do not desire to live the Golden Rule. If we are at an intersection, it is often not our first impulse to give the right-away to the person who is anxious to go. Another place of noticeable impatience is at the check-out line at a grocery or department store. How much more important do we often regard our time than everyone else who is checking out in front of us! However, as with both examples, God is wanting to get to the heart of the matter. When He reveals our impatience, He reveals our lack of love. It is not a mistake that Paul through the Holy Spirit declares in I Corinthians 13:4 that "love is patient." The lack of the latter equals the absence of the former. So, when we elevate ourselves above those we encounter through choices favoring self, we have often chosen to usurp the dynamic of love operating through forbearance. A good exercise to do in this regard is to always defer to those we come across, whether in traffic or stores or wherever. If someone is behind us in line, always give preference to them and say something like, "I'm in no hurry. Please, go ahead!" Some of the time, people will merely turn down your kind offer. (It is often noticeable how they will often display much more patience while they are waiting after a gesture such as this because it disarms them!) Other times, some folks will take you up on your offer and do so either thankfully or not. Then, there are sometimes those who say, "Why are you doing this?" These are the people who genuinely want to know if we have some sort of an "angle." In these cases, we can tell them we do. This is the perfect opportunity to state how Jesus Christ leads and guides our lives and we believe this is exactly what He would do in this situation. From this brief exchange, we might be surprised concerning the ensuing conversation that may occur. Some may just leave it at that. However, others might have a question or two about our faith. If we are feeling led by God's Spirit, we might be bold and ask them, "Who do you think Jesus Christ was or is?" This can often lead to a divine appointment where this person we have served with kindness gets the opportunity to hear and receive the Good News.

Jesus Christ was the greatest evangelist to ever live because He was the greatest servant to ever walk this earth. Evangelism is not about who can memorize and quote the right verses, or how many people someone has brought to a point of "decision" for the Lord. Instead, it is about how many souls we have served by pouring our lives out for them. The instance of servant evangelism I previously mentioned is only one of innumerable examples regarding how we can die to ourselves and live for others as we show forth the love of God. It will never be possible to live the way Christ lived upon this earth. He came in mortal flesh, not to be served as the Lord and King of the universe. Rather, having emptied Himself of His great power, he chose rather to serve and to lay down His life for others (Philippians 2:5-8). Unfortunately, there will always be those who believe this is unnecessary and a "bit over the top." They might think that just because the Lord Jesus lived this sort of life that it somehow excuses them from a life of self-sacrifice for others. Peter had this attitude when the Lord came to wash his feet in the upper room the night before Christ's death. He recoiled from the idea of Jesus serving him in a way that seemed beneath His Lord's station. Yet, is that not like so many of us? We either reject the idea of serving someone out of place of timidity or false humility, or we feel uncomfortable when someone else wants to serve us in a selfless way. Both positions are born from fear and insecurity of losing something we never possessed in the first place. What we think we will lose is our feeling of self-sufficiency that desires to neither be an imposition on another nor impose on those we should be helping. Either way, when we refuse to serve others or to be served ourselves, we deny the very nature of Christ to manifest Himself. He is only made perfect in our weakness when we allow ourselves to die to what we consider best for ourselves.

We may never lead someone to the Lord by what we say. More than likely, if we do lead someone to Jesus it will be through His incarnation manifesting through us. The most powerful evangelizing tool we have available, symbolically speaking, is the towel and wash basin which Christ used in that upper room two millennia ago. To serve others will not necessarily mean leading someone to eternal life. However, it will allow them to glimpse the One who gives us the gift of everlasting redemption. Through serving people---these souls which Christ bled and died for---we are given the opportunity to not hinder these precious ones from entering God's kingdom due to neglect. If we are truly God's possession, then we should desire to demonstrate His love to others through the Holy Spirit who lives within. The Great Commission, to go forth and make disciples of all nations, will no longer be a daunting command that we shrink from in fear (Matthew 28:18-20). Instead, everyday will become a joyous drama which unfolds before our eyes. We will always be looking, expectantly seizing opportunities granted to us to show kindness to others while serving them. Remember, the more unexplainable our actions to the lost, the better. Let me further explain.

The next time you are in line at Starbucks or at a convenience store, buy the person in line behind you their coffee or soft drink. It will boggle their mind why you did it! They might be offended, like Peter, that you would try to serve them. Then again, they might be interested enough in why you did it to listen to you tell them about your love for the Savior. Either way, you have fulfilled Christ's desire that we love as He did, deferring to others instead of to our own desires and wishes. If we would live in this manner as Christ's expression of the church, we would turn the world upside down for Jesus as servant evangelists. May we all be obedient to live for Him and through Him in this manner!

Heavenly Father, thank You for the example of Your Son, how He lived and died as the Perfect Servant Evangelist. His message which He lived long ago still resonates in our hearts. Make us servants who take Your message of love to a hurt and lost world. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Your Barefoot Servant,

Rick

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