Published 11:07 am on March 23, 2009
The Importance of Serving Others
Matthew 5:14-16: "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." (NIV)
What if you had a house that had no doors, no windows, or no way to let in natural light? You would have electrical lights, but without sunlight it would begin to get depressing. A house without windows and doors becomes more like a dungeon than a healthy living space. Now think about being in the middle of the woods at night. You're lost, hungry, cold and miserable. The moon isn't visible and it's pitch black outside, except for the lights from a large log cabin setting up on a hill. It's your only hope for survival. But without the windows and doors of that cabin, the lights would not shine. Without that light, you couldn't see it, as though it didn't exist. If it were just a dungeon, like in our first example, with no windows or doors, the light wouldn't shine. The same is true of us Christians when we are content to live within ourselves, become self-absorbed in our own "rat race" and refuse to observe the verse above by letting our "light shine before men."
The Bible tells us in Ephesians 2:8-9 that we are saved through grace not works. While works will not save us, we should also recognize that faith without works is dead (James 2:17). In the latter verse, James is instructing us that we are called to serve others, not through our faith, but through our service by means of our faith. This service allows our light to shine. This outward expression of an inward connection allows others to see how God works in the life of a believer. Later in James 2, he references Abraham:
"Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.' And he was called God's friend. You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone." James 2:21-24 (NKJV) This example shows just how strong faith and actions work together in our lives. As James concludes this chapter he states, "As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead." James 2:26 (NKJV)
Just as we are to have faith and works, we can express those works through our spiritual gifts given to us by the grace of God. Romans 12:6-8 tells us that we each have different gifts and that these gifts are examples of how we should express our faith outwardly to others. In Galatians 5:13, the Apostle Paul tells us that when we use the gifts to serve one another, to do so in love. Peter builds upon this thought by telling us, "Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms." 1 Peter 4:10
We can profess our faith to others, recite Bible verses, show up to church to worship, but our faith, our heart and our inward light will only shine when we set aside ourselves by serving others. Our service is the true window to our soul and one of the best testimonies we have for non-believers.
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