Timothy was a young church planter who was closely mentored by the Apostle Paul. His role was not easy for he was called to help a church with their share of baggage. Timothy was very young and so deemed inexperienced by the elders of the churches yet God used him greatly in the establishing of these churches on account of his willingness to serve. He accompanied Paul on his second missionary journey and was consistent in his presence and service.
Timothy though only followed the example of the greatest servant leader of all time- Jesus. Jesus was unafraid to get His hands dirty, literally, as he washed the feet of His disciples one night. He did this in order for His disciples to also serve one another out of love. Jesus consistently served mankind be it through visits to the homes of the disreputable, healing the sick, touching the untouchable, and patiently teaching the unschooled.
The word service, in an Indian context, is associated with a servant and therefore gets a bad rap. No one wants to be anonymous or forgotten which seems synonymous with serving when in reality serving is completely different. Serving our God and our fellow man is at the very nature of God is. His son was sent to serve mankind and His ultimate service was in dying for all of humanity to save them.
In order for us to serve, we must be ready to die to ourselves which means that we must effectively deal with areas of selfishness, pride, or the need for appreciation and affirmation. This comes from having a secure identity in Christ knowing that he has done everything for me and that we don’t need to do anything to earn my salvation. We, therefore, serve Him out of deep love for Him and not out of obligation or fear. When we serve from this place of certainty in our relationship with Christ our service is done with no hidden agendas, no ulterior motives, and with the utmost sincerity and consistency.
Looking again at Timothy’s life we see that he doesn’t seem to have any specific qualifications that set him apart from others. All he was was WILLING! He made himself available to be used by God in His church for the spread of the gospel and for the strengthening of the believers.
In order to serve, we must be ready to:
1. Show up - We must be steady and committed to serving in whatever capacity God uses us however obscure it may seem. Half of serving is in actually showing up and being present in what God has called us to do.
2. Step in - It's vital that we step into the open doors that present itself to us in the aspect of serving. Many times doors open in spaces we never dreamt that we would serve in but will require baby steps of faith to step into them. We may feel unequipped to serve there initially but over the course of time, we will find ourselves having expanded our skillset and ready for more responsibility.
3. Press on - It can be tempting to lose interest and maybe even stop serving when we don’t see results but the challenge is to keep showing up and to refusing to give up. To serve well we need enormous persistence, patience, and endurance.
We can be unafraid to serve because when we
Show up - God blesses
Step in - God equips
Press on - God empowers
Are we ready to serve others like Jesus? Are we prepared to serve the church like Timothy- with no job description but just a willing and teachable heart?
Rick Warren says that “Faithful servants never retire. You can retire from your career, but you will never retire from serving God.”