In the Lenten Bible study, With Jesus in the Upper Room, we have considered what it means to live a servant lifestyle. We know we are called to serve Christ and to serve the world, but sometimes that seems too vague. What does it really mean to be a servant? How can we share the love of Christ with the world around us?
At one point Maxie Dunnam, the author of the study, says that to be a servant is “to be a channel through whom God can love the world, can give grace and hope to the world, can bring light to dark places, and beauty to ugliness.” When I think about being a servant like this, it makes me realize that being a servant isn’t something that I can do short-term. It’s not a quick checklist of things to do. Servanthood is a life. It is a way of living with Jesus and the world around us. It is spending time with our Savior so that he can make us loving, holy, gracious, and merciful. It is spending time with others in a way that they experience Christ’s grace, mercy, love, and holiness in us.
Being “light in dark places” only has an impact as long as the light remains. Sometimes we wonder how we can reach non-Christians with the love of Christ. How can we get them to know his love and mercy? What does it take for them to respond? Mostly, it just takes time and consistency. Keep inviting. Keep sharing. Keep serving. Take them a meal. Pray for them daily. Invite them to your home. Work alongside them. Talk about Jesus. Let them see him at work in your life.
The Holy Spirit goes before us to prepare the way for the Good News. Sometimes, people respond immediately. As soon as they hear the name Jesus they fall down in worship and cling to him as their Lord. But usually it doesn’t happen that way. Most people need more time. They want to see that Jesus really makes a difference. Some have been hurt by the church and they need to see that God’s children can truly love them. Some feel like they aren’t good enough to be in church. They think they have to get their lives together and clean themselves up before they can walk through the doors.
When we are committed and consistent in sharing God’s love with the people around us, no matter how long it may take, eventually some will come to know Christ.
When you think about it, that’s how it happened for us. Jesus loved us and kept reaching out to us. He surrounded us with his people to show us his love and grace. He kept calling out to us until we said yes. If that is how he has loved us, let us love others in the same way.