What, then, is service? Serving is putting the needs of others ahead of our own, or putting the needs of the community ahead of our individual needs. And the Bible says there are several reasons to do this. The first benefit is self-knowledge. Don’t think you know your real gifts and capacities until you do a lot of humble serving in many different capacities around the church. Only as you do that will you come to understand your own aptitudes.
The second benefit is community. When you approach the church as a consumer (that is, only to get your needs met), you are in a solitary mode of being, but when you reject the consumer mindset, serving will draw you out of yourself and into relationships.
The third benefit is the fulfillment and joy of seeing others touched through you, or seeing something great happen through the part you play in the body of Christ. Paradoxically, if you serve primarily for the benefits to yourself, then it isn’t really serving, and you won’t receive the benefits. The only workable dynamic for every-member ministry is Mark 10:45. Because Jesus served you in such a radical way, you have a joyful need to serve. It’s a form of praise that doesn’t fully enjoy what it admires until it expresses itself in service.
- Tim Keller