The hero of Luke 10:30–37 might be surprised to know that we now call him the “good” Samaritan. In his world “good” was usually credited to folks like the priests and Levites who had power. All he did was pause along his way and do the right thing, thereby setting an example for the ages.
Servanthood is often like that. Unselfish. Spontaneous. Private. Your best work may never be recognized on earth, but it will never be forgotten in eternity.
Paul stressed humility when he taught the Philippians about servanthood: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:3–5).
The same wisdom applies to our opportunities for ministry.
What kind of difference can you make? What do you have to give? Maybe more than you realize.
Give time. As you pray for the needs in your church or community, listen quietly for ways you might help. Visit someone lonely in a retirement home or hospital. Guide a child through Scouting or Big Brother/Big Sister programs.
Give literacy. By some estimates, up to 40 million Americans cannot read well enough to function in society—much less understand Scripture.
Give your old Bibles. The Bible League (www.bibleleague.org) reports that they can send five Bibles overseas for the cost of printing one. Your notes in the margins make your gift all the richer.
Give blood. We all expect blood to be there in an emergency, yet nine out of ten healthy persons never donate blood. Give before Valentine’s Day and call it—in honor of someone you love—a gift from the heart.
Give your excess. Rather than fill your attic with baby furniture, give it to a Pregnancy Resource Center. While there, ask how you might volunteer.
Give your expertise. Hundreds of doctors spend their vacations and retirements overseas on short-term missionary trips with organizations such as World Medical Mission. Pianists can teach at churches whose children cannot afford lessons. Ask yourself how you might share your unique talents.
Give your energy. You don’t have to be an expert to help elderly neighbors with yardwork, to serve in a soup kitchen, or even to help build a house with Habitat for Humanity.
Share Christmas. Samaritan’s Purse, a Christian relief organization, organizes an annual outreach to provide shoe boxes with small gifts to millions of needy children around the world. The project, Operation Christmas Child, is directed by General Hank Drewfs (MA/BS, 2000), Vice President for Ministry at Samaritan’s Purse. He oversees projects in more than one hundred countries afflicted by war, poverty, disaster, or disease. And it’s not too late to give to this year’s effort. But don’t limit yourself to Christian charities. Your work in a secular organization could be a witness to other volunteers who would never go to church.
Keep your eyes open for the blessings that will return to you.
And whatever you do, do it with joy!