How to serve? How to REALLY serve? How to REALLY serve the Lord? Here it is in a nutshell. Get down & dirty. Seriously. Be willing to go to any lengths. Be willing to discard your makeup, forget your fancy clothes, say goodbye to staying clean, disregard your reputation and popularity, stop caring what other people think, set your resume aside, and do what God speaks about throughout the entire Bible. HUMBLE yourself. Lower yourself. Seek the Lord’s face in prayer and Bible study, listen for His response, and be prepared to leave behind your comfort zone, your place of security and safety so to speak, your no-risk zone. I once knew a man who to me exemplified what it really means to get down and dirty – and serve.
My long-time pastor and father in Christ, who is now with the Lord, one night finished preaching as a guest preacher at another church only to discover that right in front of all to see, an exceedingly intoxicated man stumbled and mumbled his way to the front of the room. Oh, how embarrassing! Oh, how appalling! Oh, what would everyone think, right? For 10 to 15 minutes straight, without a single break, my pastor held and hugged this grown man to his chest as he prayed for him, holding onto him for dear life – breathing the love of Jesus Christ right into Him as He prayed and loved and prayed and loved. With all to see. Then he went back to his usual business for years preaching, teaching, and getting literally filthy and sweaty and smelly physically laboring as he hurried back from an inner city in America to the tent cities in another nation, working tirelessly to pour the Gospel and Christ’s love into all whose paths he crossed, and literally carrying the heavy loads of food, clothing, shelter, organizing, driving, flying, so much so that he took virtually no time for himself. But then, he didn’t live for himself. He lived down and dirty, humbling himself, getting down low to the ground to life up those in need into the loving arms of the Lord. He once told his congregation he would not stand behind the pulpit in a formal way because he knew where he belonged. He told a group of people in dire straits who stood before the congregation his job description. He was their servant. He lived his life down and dirty to serve. He refused a pay raise for about 14 years because he knew the money was God’s, and he wanted it to go to those in need.
The world is ever full of those in need, but how many of us are willing to humble ourselves before the Lord God almighty, seek His will for our lives, and be willing to roll up our sleeves and get busy. I am not talking about baking brownies for the next church picnic, though there is nothing wrong with that. I am not talking about giving Christmas presents once a year to the less fortunate, though there is nothing wrong with that either. I am not talking about going on a missions trip once a year because that way you can feel like you paid your dues or because someone else dragged you along, though there is nothing wrong with missions trips.
But let me ask you a question, if I may. Are you willing to get down and dirty? Are you willing to make a fool of yourself in the eyes of the world? Are you willing to swim upstream when everyone seems to be going in the other direction? Are you willing to give of your heart, your time, your care, your money? Are you willing to leave behind your old way of living and to live the way the Lord has called you to live? Are you willing to give to others in such a way that you take risks you never imagined taking, your find yourself in new places meeting new faces, you find yourself sweating and getting covered in the grime of life, you are willing to get bloodied by someone who just had a car accident, you are willing to give up your favorite television shows so you can minister to the broken, you will talk to the homeless people you have kept turning your back on, oh and the list goes on – and on. For we live in a world in dire straits, and it’s time we all get busy being about the Father’s business, to use a term once used by Jesus Christ Himself, as we learn to give up the lives God has given to us in order to give them utterly to Him who created us to love and serve Him with all our hearts – and to serve Him with all of our hearts also.
If you have been hedging, and hemming, and hawing, and finding yourself spending too much time in the church pews and too little time in the streets of this world, or spending no time in the pews and all your time in the world not even knowing how God has called you specifically to serve, if you have been hesitating and making up excuses or scratching items off your list of the “good deeds” you did to make yourself feel better and not for the Lord at all, why not change your heart, and attitude, and make a commitment to take a different approach. Get down – on your knees before the Lord. Get dirty – serving Him.
Jos 22:5 But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law, which Moses the servant of the LORD charged you, to love the LORD your God, and to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and to cleave unto him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.