Serve Sunday

Matt Graves
This past Sunday, we did something that we’ve never done before. We didn’t have an in-person or online service. Instead, we went out into the community and served others. We had almost 100 people show up to serve Texarkana. As your pastor, I am grateful and humbled that we have an environment where that is possible and that so many of you would show up to serve on a holiday weekend. Thank you!
Perhaps you’ve heard the expression, “You can tell a lot about a person by the way they treat the servers at a restaurant.” I have friends who own businesses, and they will take candidates for employment out to eat and preempt the server ahead of time with requests to intentionally mess up their orders so they can see how that person treats the server when everything doesn’t go his or her way.
What is the role of a server? Isn't it to care for the needs and wants of the people dining out? They take your order, they refill your drinks, they deliver your food, and they bus your table when you’re finishing up. Their sole job is to take great care of their guests, to serve them. Some of us have had or currently have jobs similar to servers, jobs where our sole purpose is in serving another person. As a believer, it’s not our “job” to serve others. It’s our calling as new creations in Christ.
You’ve probably heard us talk about our vision to Transform Texarkana. It comes from the passage in Acts 17 where the apostle Paul and some of his co-workers for the gospel were going into Thessalonica. The Jews in the city were jealous and took some of Paul’s acquaintances to the city authorities and said, “These men who have upset the world have come here also.” The meaning in that phrase is one of transformation and being turned upside down. That is what we hope to do here in Texarkana.
And that looks like a lot of things, maybe it's just offering a helping hand in something small, or going out of your way to be helpful, or making your spouse a cup of morning coffee, or perhaps bringing a meal to new parents. There are numerous ways we can serve one another. And at Heritage, we don’t give you a list of things “to do”. We create opportunities for you to partner with us to serve others. But we believe ultimately it is the role of the Holy Spirit to guide and direct you into other ways to serve.--As a believer, it’s not our “job” to serve others. It’s our calling as new creations in Christ.
We believe it starts with growing in the knowledge and wisdom of Christ. That’s what Paul says in Colossians 1:9, that “we have not ceased praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.”
Now pay attention to how he opens verse 10. He says, “SO THAT you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in EVERY GOOD WORK and increasing in the knowledge of God.”
Did you notice his formula? Be filled with knowledge and wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy.
Religion tells you to just do good deeds and hopefully, you’ll do enough that God will be pleased with you. That merely fuels the pride in our lives. On the other hand, religion also tells you to gain all the knowledge of every scripture and the only thing that matters is increasing in knowledge.
The problem is, both are extremes on either end. Good deeds done in the flesh only fuel your pride and ego and have nothing to do with being led by the Spirit. And being filled with all the knowledge in the world is useless if its result isn’t love. Paul addresses that in 1 Corinthians 13:2, “If I know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith to move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.”
Don’t get me wrong, studying and knowing scripture is where we understand who Christ is, what it means for Christ to be in you, and to know the power of the resurrection that lives in you. But knowledge isn’t the end of the instruction, it’s the beginning. Paul makes that clear to Timothy in the opening of his first letter, 1 Timothy 1:5, “The goal of our instruction is love….” Paul says, in essence, “Listen Timothy, I am about to give you a lot of instruction, and everything that I have ever taught you and everything I am saying in this letter I am writing you has one goal: LOVE.”
That is the hope for all that we do at Heritage. It is to love one another in a way that makes them curious about Jesus. This past Sunday was an example of that.Galatians 5:13b, “…but through love serve one another.”
Thank you for being a church that hasn’t lost sight of the goal!

1 Comment

Cal Davis - January 30th, 2023 at 5:15am

Right on, Matt. Not a duty to serve but a blessing. Believers should know “it is better to give than to receive.” Everyone involved is blessed when we give with the attitude as Christ gave.