Suzanne and I and our kids had the opportunity to do a service project this past Saturday, Valentine’s Day. It was an incredible experience! We served alongside a number of our friends who are starting browns mill church with us. The day was a bit of a struggle for some of us more “take charge” personalities. I had to keep reminding myself that my job for the day was that of servant and servants don’t have an agenda!
I’ve seen some churches do service projects and while they did actually help people, it seemed to be more of a publicity stunt to garner more buzz about their church. One church I visited promoted a 30 day “love our community” campaign. They did some extraordinary acts of service, captured it on video and then came back to their auditorium and showed everybody the footage.
A few days before our service project, I was reading through Matthew 6: “Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ in front of others, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then you Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
The problem is, we want to leverage our serving opportunities. We think, “If people see us serving, they will see that we really care about people and come to one of our services and give their lives to Christ.” We have it backwards. What if our acts of service are not a means to an end, but rather an end in themselves. Maybe our acts of service are for our ultimate good and not for others. When we really serve, we are humbling ourselves, turning over the control to someone else–we have no agenda other than what is given to us. If we serve with our own agenda, that is not at all the case. When was the last time you served with no agenda?