Power to Serve

Words For Today by Pastor Paul Krentz

Yesterday was the fourth of July. Together as Americans we celebrated the independence we have as a sovereign nation. But even as we celebrate that independence, we all know we are not as independent as we would like to think. In this global economy in which we live, events overseas often have a dramatic impact on our life here, and show just how connected we are with others in this world.

That connectedness we have with others is something Jesus often talked about. One time Jesus called his disciples together and said, ""You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 43 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

These words remind all of us who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ that our life is to be one of service lived on behalf of others who are around us. Hearing those words though we might be inclined to ask the question, "How long Lord?" At our jobs our employers usually require us to serve at least eight hours a day. But what about the Lord? How long are we suppose to serve one another? Is there some point where our service comes to an end?

The answer to such question is to be found in the life and service of our Savior himself. During his life on earth Jesus served others to the end of his physical strength. Day in and day out Jesus gave all he had for the sake of others. Even in death Jesus did not stop serving us as our Savior. There, as his blood poured out from the nail wounds to his hands and feet, Jesus was serving us by paying the penalty of death and separation from God our sins deserved.

Following his death you might think Jesus’ service finally stopped. But no! Jesus rose from the dead, and as our living Savior, Jesus continues to serve all who trust in him, and will continue to serve us to the very end of time! As you can see Jesus’ service never ends. Which means the service we’re called to give to one another should never end either. But that’s hard to do!

In any sports event, as you get closer to the end of the game, the players get weak, tired, and exhausted. At such time it’s tough for the players to keep playing and giving one hundred percent. What keeps them going through those final minutes? More often than not it’s the encouragement they receive from their coach.

That’s something for us Christians to think about. Serving others can be exhausting mentally, emotionally, and even spiritually.

It takes a lot out of us caring for the children God has blessed us with, loving the spouse he’s put into our life, or reaching out to the people that cross our path at work or in school. That’s especially so when we try to serve others and they don’t appreciate it. At times like that we just want to throw in the towel and quit.

So what keeps us going? What keeps us serving? It’s not our strength or personal perseverance. It’s the power and strength of our Savior Jesus. When we don’t feel like we can serve another single person, he comes to us. He encourages us and empower us, by reminding us that in our weakness he continues to serve us. He daily forgives us of all our sins, and daily renews us with his divine grace as our ever-living God. So we might be like him, and be one another’s servants, whose service in this life never comes to an end.

Paul Krentz is the pastor at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Watertown.