Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Two-way Street

I have been doing a lot of thinking lately about what service should look like for a Christian, a Christ follower, a Christ-like person. Clearly Christ served others with little, if any regard for himself. So, if I truly want to be Christ-like, then I must server others sacrificially as Christ served others. That is pretty straight forward really.

But, I also see places where Christ talks to His disciples about others in some cases serving them too. For instance, in three of the gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) Jesus send out the disciples with the recommendation to "shake the dust off your feet" if people do not "welcome" them. I believe this term "welcome" from Jesus would infer that the people of the towns they travel to would indeed serve them, feed them, give them drink and a place to stay. This was the expected custom of the Jewish communities in Jesus' day. This then creates a two-way street.

In one way we, as Christ followers are absolutely to server others. In so doing we are to graciously serve (service though the recipient might not deserve it), and sacrificially serve (at cost to our self). On the other side of the street though, we should allow others to serve us when we are in need. This is something I think most of us just refuse to even consider. In our self-sufficient culture the option for an "upstanding Christian" to let someone else provide for them is just not necessary, maybe even lazy. So, except in extreme cases (deaths, births, unexpected job loss, etc.) it is rare that any Christian is willing to admit they could use help, or allow anyone to help them. This, of course is ten-fold worse for us guys than the ladies.

What this says when we refuse to be served by others is that we are too proud to be served by other people. We are capable of dealing with our own issues, problems without anyone else. This mentality at its core is straight out selfish pride, the lack of humility. Christ allowed himself to be cared for by the twelve, Mary, Martha and others. Why, then should we not allow others to care for us? This two-way street was present while Jesus walked the earth, and was present in the first Christian church in Acts. The fact that "they had everything in common" certainly indicates that they were serving each other in love.

To live in Christian community is to server each other in Christ-like service. It is to sacrifice your own desires for your neighbor, even your enemy. It is to become humble and recognize that you are NOT capable of handling everything/anything, and you NEED others to serve you too. It is to be in submission to one another. It is, as I said in an earlier post (building up), the fact that we are all a part of each other. Therefore we are all to serve one another. This is not simply who can serve the best; Christianity is about humble service and honest acceptance of grace from God and others. Besides, don't you think God provides for you through the service of others? So, to refuse that service out of pride is to refuse God's provision for you! Accept His gifts; be reliant on Christ in each other!