Weekly message from Cypress Church: The blessing of serving

1 Peter 4:10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:

I was plugging in my exercise and food intake in my fitness app (don’t think too much of this for I rarely record all I eat and therein lies my problem!) and an article popped up “Want Bigger Heath Benefits? Start Volunteering.” The article lists a few studies that show people who volunteer, who are involved in serving others, serving causes, serving in their city, schools, churches, and other organizations, have better emotional and physical health. Yes, this is true. Most health professionals, including mental health providers say there are great benefits and blessings in serving. Just do a little online search and you will find many articles about the benefits of volunteering/serving. What serving does is to create space in life for wellness, happiness, and growth in both character and faith.

See, God’s desire is for us to serve.

Galatians 5:13-14 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh (selfishness), but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

To love our neighbor is to serve. Jesus, seeking to explain who our neighbor is, told a story. The story was about The Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37. In this story a person gets mugged, beaten, and left for dead. Two religious people, who we think would help because they appear to have the same loving heart as God, stepped to the other side of the street, doing nothing. Then along comes a person from the area of Samaria, who the hearers of the story had despised and looked down on due to their race. The clincher is that this despised person does the godly thing and lovingly helps/serves their fellow human by caring for them at their own expense. To love our neighbor is to serve them.

Acts 20:35 In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'”

The blessing of serving is that it does help others. We have the honor and privilege to be a blessing for someone else. There are so many great organizations to volunteer, to serve; the Boys and Girls Club, the Senior Center, serve the city by contacting your local Parks and Recreation department. When school is in session, volunteering/serving at your local school is very helpful. I am married to a teacher, and parents and other adult helpers aide in creating a greater learning environment. Together, with others, we can do a lot of good.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

I have taken many groups of students and adults on various serving trips. Some have been more local and some overseas. As people serve, these opportunities get people’s mind off of themselves on to others or the cause at hand and amazing things happen within the serving individual. God uses this opportunity to grow our character and move us on to maturity. I remember taking students to a developing nation and walking them down a street where multiple families lived in cardboard houses with dirt floors and no running water. As the walk went on, my group got silent. Something was happening within them. At our nightly debriefing and asking them what they felt God was teaching them, they talked of how materialistic they are, how much they waste, how they could live on way less, and how self-focused they had become. Many who go on these types of trips are never the same. There is a blessing in serving. What have you discovered?

I was visiting another church in another state that focuses on getting people into serving. I asked one guy what he learned by serving. He said he learned how to relate to people and be a friend. He mentioned that he was a bit of a loner in life and now in his adulthood had become kind of lonely. He tried serving on a team, and as he worked alongside others, he saw how to be a friend. He now has a big group of friends and even does things socially with the people he serves alongside. There is a blessing in serving.

Yes, serving involves us taking the initiative to find a place to serve, and the energy and effort to create space to serve in our busy lives. Yet it might be just what we need; for the there is a blessing in serving.

Church can be a great place to serve and learn of serving. If you don’t regularly attend a church, we would like to invite you to Cypress Church or any of our branch churches. Our website has more information: http://www.cypresschurch.net. You can even attend one of our live-streaming services on line (see http://live.cypresschurch.net/).