Psalm 100 calls us to serve the Lord. Meanwhile, Acts 17 states that God cannot be served “by human hands.” Is there a contradiction in Scripture? Certainly not.

There are two biblical concepts of the word service: 1) to serve a need and 2) to serve as worship. The first concept may be fulfilled with simple actions, while the second concept requires the heart. The sense of the word here is to order one’s life around honoring them. For instance, when people are said to “serve money,” we understand that money rules their lives. If we speak of serving God, we mean that he alone rules our lives. That’s why the phrase “reasonable service” in the KJV is translated “spiritual worship” in modern translations. It’s the basis for calling a Sunday gathering a “worship service.” So yes, we do serve God, but not “as though he needed anything” (Acts 17:25).

These two senses of worship are not mutually exclusive. Instead, they are closely connected. See them come together in Paul’s call to be a “living sacrifice.” The service toward others in need is translated by faith into worship of God, who has no needs.

It starts by God serving our needs. God’s mercies are bestowed to us by Christ’s serving us on the cross. In view of these mercies, we serve others as an act of worship to God.

Additionally, to serve others is to serve Christ! In Matthew 25:40, Jesus explains, “as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” That’s why in whatever we do, we must work at it with all your heart “as working for the Lord, not for men” (Colossians 3:23) and “with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.”

All of this springs from the fact that God is completely self-sufficient. He has no needs. Instead, he is the wellspring of all things we need! Out of no obligation, he joyfully chooses to serve us. “Nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything” (Acts 17:25).

In the same way, we serve others (Christ-like) because we have been served by Christ, and now we have no need of anything (other than him). That’s the only way in which we serve Christ – by serving others as he has served us. We must be of the “same mind” doing “nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind… regard one another as more important than (ourselves).” This means looking beyond our own interests to the interests of others (Philippians 2:1-4). A prerequisite to biblical service is having an overflow with which to benefit others.

This overflow is more than what the natural man can produce on his own. Whereas the old command was to love your neighbor as yourself, Jesus said the new command is to love one another as He loved us (John 13:34)! This requires the power of Christ’s Spirit.

In kingdom perspective, the servant is not a lowly position; rather, the servant’s position is greatly valued.” Paul even says that Christ will be exalted as a result of his servanthood (Philippians 2:9-11).

Mark 10:45 says, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” As kingdom servants, our serving reflects Christ’s sacrifice – his service on the cross – to the world! Even in our suffering, we are “filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions” (Colossians 1:24).

What are the results of serving?

  1. Sanctification of others and ourselves. As we wash one another’s feet, God uses us as tools of sanctification. Our hearts are set on imitating Christ as the one we serve is conformed to the image of Christ. Jesus used this posture of serving to show that our service to others helps “wash” others. But this is not a washing of justification, “for a person who is clean does not need to take a bath…” Instead, it is a washing of sanctification in which “he only needs to wash his feet.”
  2. Joy in Christ. We are commanded to “Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!” (Psalm 100:2).
  3. God is worshiped. Serving others is a form of worshiping God.
  4. God is glorified. Serving humbles us and helps others so that it is Christ working through us and getting the glory from us. Serving requires humility, discomfort, self sacrifice, generosity, mercy, kindness, and care on behalf of another person – all of which are reflections of Christ!

Bottom line: To minister is to serve, and everyone is called to ministry. A call to salvation is a call to serve.

Join speaker Dustin Wisely and the SOAR band as we learn to serve. Explore hands-on service opportunities in the SOAR village and enjoy the music of We the Union and a concert by Jordan Feliz.

SOAR registration is available now at gosaor.com. Register by June 1 to receive the conference theme t-shirt!

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