I started coming to Haiti when I was 16. Although friends, circumstances, and the thrill of adventure continued to bring me back year after year, it was the joy I found in serving others that always led my heart back to this country. Eventually I would find myself living in Haiti, running an orphanage, and learning to serve in ways I never imagined.
Serving others is a gift God has been growing inside of me for quite some time. I haven’t always wanted this gift. As a matter of fact, I attempted denying it for quite some time. When I was younger, I enjoyed serving myself more than others and I wasn’t willing to give that enjoyment up too easily. To be honest, serving myself is still a spiritual struggle I deal with everyday. Thanks to God’s grace and His Spirit within me, however, I am daily growing in the ability to serve others above myself.
Although all Christians are called to serve, some have been blessed with service as a spiritual gift. Some Christians are natural servants at heart. These Christians have the God-given talent of discernment when it comes to noticing who needs help. Needs that many people would typically overlook are seen clearly by those with the gift of service. If someone is in need, their heart naturally breaks and they feel compelled to help. Most of all, those gifted with the heart of a servant find their greatest joy in serving others. No matter who or how they are serving, helping others fills their soul with joy.
So how do you know if you have been given the gift of service?
If you have a natural ability to see the needs of others around you, and if you find your greatest joy in helping meet those needs, chances are you have the spiritual gift of service. Who and how we serve may look different in all of us though. For some people, it means moving oversees to be a missionary, while for others it means serving in the local community. But no matter where God chooses to place you in the world, if you have the gift of service, you can be greatly used.
Service can be pretty exciting while at other times it can be rather mundane. For example, serving at a local homeless shelter, caring for orphans, tutoring a child struggling in school, going on a mission trip, or volunteering at a local non-profit can be fun and rewarding. Sometimes, however, God calls us to use our servant hearts in simple ways that are often unnoticed by others. Watching babies in the nursery at church, making the communion bread for Sunday morning, cleaning an elderly person’s house, or making food for someone who is sick are all beautiful acts of service and all bring glory to God.
I once heard someone say, “Serving is a lifestyle, not just an occasional event”. To serve others as a lifestyle means to live like Jesus. It means finding our talents and using them daily to serve those around us. The call to serve others is something God planted in all of us, not just a few. But for some of us, serving others is a natural gift. It is apart of our DNA as a child of God, and it is our upmost expression of His love in our lives.
1 Peter 4:10 says that, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms”. All of God’s children have been given special gifts, and all His gifts have been given to us in order serve others. For some, however, serving others comes more naturally. We have been given this gift of service for two reasons: 1) To glorify God and 2) to share God’s love with others through our acts of service
Has God given you the gift of a servant heart? If so, how do you believe He is calling you to serve, and how can you use your gift to share God’s love wherever you live?