Berean Blog

God, Whom Can I Serve Today?

Try to imagine for a moment a world without people who serve. There would be no nurses, janitors, waiters, cooks, advocates, moms, dads, coaches, shelf stockers, paralegals, mechanics, and so much more. That sounds like a very sad, depressing, and difficult world, doesn't it? As Christians, we are called to follow in Jesus' footsteps and serve those around us. In fact, God has given each one of us unique gifts to do just that! Read below as Maureen Berger explores the importance of serving in the life of a Christian. Maureen has been an active member of Berean since 2003. She can often be found serving in Berean Kids and regularly participates in weekend services, adult classes, and small groups. She is also Together for Good's Team Ministry Coordinator and one of Berean's Global Partners, overseeing KidZ at Heart in the U.S. and Canada.

by Maureen Berger on May 23, 2023


Imagine a forest without trees. Imagine a garden without plants. Think about it – it's impossible! Together, the mix of baby plants, growing saplings, and mature plants or trees make up a forest or garden. Each of those plants has roots and a stem or trunk that, in time, forms some sort of seed.

Now imagine a world without servants. Depending on your definition of the word servant, views may vary. You might think that a world without servants is a good idea, as this would mean there's no more slavery, no more injustice of person over person, and everyone can be their own master. But what if we expand the idea of servant to include all those serving another person(s)? We'd have a world without nurses, janitors, garbage carriers, moms, dads, waiters/waitresses, cooks, advocates, coaches, administrators, shelf stockers in stores, paralegals, mechanics, plumbers, and much more. . . I don’t know about you, but to me, that sounds like a very sad, depressing, and difficult world!

Just as it is impossible to have a forest without trees, a garden without plants, and a world without servants, it is impossible to be a growing Christian without serving!

Forests, gardens, and the service industry are all varied and expansive. So also serving in the life of a believer has richness and depth for us to explore in both knowledge and experience.

To thrive as Christians, we must develop an attitude of serving.

If you were to ask someone in the service industry why they serve, I don't think you'd hear them say they do it to become famous. Instead, you might hear the following:

  • I serve because I find fulfillment in caring for others.
  • I serve because I was blessed (or touched) by someone else in this field.
  • I serve because I want to give back, doing a similar role as someone did for me.

But in the life of a Jesus-follower, serving goes beyond giving something back or paying it forward.

Unlike the spiritual disciplines of spending intentional time in God's Word, building a life of prayer, and engaging in fasting, serving is very broad and has many different expressions. Serving is better described as an attitude. Vernie Schorr Love explains serving as "an attitude of obedience to love and care for the people in our communities and around the world, becoming a servant to all" (Love, p. 94). Or, as Valerie Hess writes, serving is "an attitude of servanthood, a way of thinking that has outward manifestations” (Hess & Garlett, p. 124).

Because serving is an attitude, it's a practice that must be cultivated by the Holy Spirit himself as he transforms our lives (Philippians 1:6). Even more, as we serve, we need the power of the Spirit to fight the sins of our flesh, taking the focus off ourselves (Romans 7:21-25). As this discipline grows, serving becomes a way of living–of being–instead of acting. With this comes the ability to thrive!


To develop an attitude of serving, we must grow strong roots.

For an attitude of serving to thrive, we must develop strong roots to stand firm when self or others say, “Me, me, me.” But how can we grow these strong roots?

Here are just a few ways:

  • We must turn our eyes to look first to the Lord (Deuteronomy 13:4).
  • We must recognize and remain thankful for how Jesus has served us (Mark 10:45).
  • We must have a heart that worships the Lord and longs to see him praised (Psalm 100:1-5).
  • We must desire to be more and more like Jesus (Philippians 3:8-14).

All these come as we love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength and our neighbor as ourselves (Mark 12:30-31).

If you've been attending Berean, you've already learned about some spiritual practices in our Thrive sermon series. These include spending time in God's Word, praying faithfully, fasting, and joining and getting involved in a local church. These practices help us to develop an attitude of servanthood.

As your love for Christ is nurtured, serving is the natural result or byproduct. An overflowing heart for the Lord is the only thing that makes serving sustainable.

God alone is able to give you his power and gifts for a humble life of service where you are able to accept with joy opportunities to serve those around you, even when the act of serving is done in obscurity (Colossians 1:29).

One might wonder about the starting point of serving in the life of a Christian. When does this attitude of servanthood begin?

Let’s look at the picture of a plant - specifically at the roots. The roots determine the life and health of a plant. They allow the plant to gain nourishment. When do those roots of a plant start growing? They grow in the dirt before we see a stem or leaves poke through the ground. The same is true of us. A child - whether in age or in Christ - begins growing roots as soon as they start a relationship with Jesus (2 Peter 3:18). They learn to worship God, and as they do, they also begin learning to serve others in obedience to him (I John 3:18).

Serving is not just for "professional or vocational Christians" but for every believer in Jesus Christ! There is no age that a believer should not be engaged in serving, and there is neither unemployment nor retirement in God’s Kingdom. Serving is the outpouring of all we have received from God (Ephesians 1:3-14), including the gifts he has bestowed on us naturally and spiritually. Why would God give us gifts if not for us to use what he has given us (I Peter 4:10-11)?!


Serving creates a pathway for fruit to be produced.

Once the roots have started to grow, we see the stem or trunk poke out of the ground. The stem or trunk must grow to its height before there's a full plant. If our roots as Christians are our relationship with Christ, serving can be compared to the visible stem or trunk providing a pipeline for producing fruit.

Do you know the spiritual (and natural) gifts God has given you? If not, one of the best ways to discover your spiritual gifts is by serving in different ways until you find what fits you. As  "spiritual" as this sounds, serving often takes the form of everyday (day in and day out) practical and ordinary actions (Acts 4:32-35; 6:1-4). Not all acts of serving are visible and praised. Instead, they can be misunderstood, repetitive, and unnoticed (John 13:1-17).  

The best time to start serving is today. It may be small, but it is a step of obedience to the Lord. Remember, as with all spiritual practices, the heart attitude is what matters most (I Chronicles 28:9) as we place ourselves in a position of availability to God so that he can speak to us and use us for his purposes (Proverbs 19:21; Philippians 2:3-4). Sometimes, serving can feel uncomfortable or inconvenient, yet it's an opportunity to surrender our will to the Lord's will so that he becomes greater in us (John 3:30).

If you are like me, you might want to plan for times and places to practice serving. Planning helps you be intentional because you know someone is counting on you to show up.

But I challenge you to leave some space or margin in your life to be available for what comes up. Look around you for those you can serve (Matthew 5:13-16).

Serving can and should be practiced in the church, home, workplace, and community - remembering that serving is an attitude that reaches into every part of our lives (Colossians 3:17, 23-24).

Serving can take many different forms. Here are just a few ways that I have served and how serving has been modeled to me:

  • Teaching
  • Overseeing other teachers
  • Caring for babies
  • Directing a kids’ program
  • Leading a small group
  • Sharing in a Bible study
  • Praying
  • Discerning
  • Listening
  • Setting up and tearing down for special events
  • Having willing hands for whatever needs to be done
  • Being available
  • Smiling
  • Learning about missions so you can pray
  • Going on a missions trip
  • Telling others about Jesus
  • Coordinating a missions outreach team
  • Providing a meal
  • Hospitality through meals and beds 

This is just a starter list of the endless ways you can serve. Are you looking for ways to get involved at Berean? Check out our serving opportunities HERE.

If you are parents or grandparents, you should be modeling serving to the next generation and guiding the kids in your life to serve others. Remember, no one is too young to start serving! Have kids start by serving others in the home by clearing the table after a meal or doing household chores. Then, as they keep learning, show them opportunities to serve others by holding doors, helping neighbors, or making and delivering cards to shut-ins.


The fruit produced through serving lasts for eternity.

As we look again at our tree illustration, we have learned that the roots grow strong in relationship with Christ. We have also learned that the stem or trunk of our "tree" grows as we practice serving. Now, we await the fruit! While I have no idea how it feels for a plant to produce fruit, I know that as a person being shaped into the image of God, there are times when it is painful and challenging (James 1: 2-4; 2 Peter 1:5-8).

Serving is one of the spiritual disciplines that puts us in a place where the Holy Spirit can transform us. As we serve, we put ourselves in Jesus’ sandals, walking as he did (I John 2:6). When I think about some of the things that motivate my desire to serve, one is to become more like Jesus (Ephesians 4:22-24). As I serve, some of my rough edges begin to come off. Necessary as it may be, it is not always comfortable. The truth is that serving is labor that can be exhausting and tiring. Yes, physical and sometimes even spiritual exhaustion happens when serving.

We must remember that in God’s economy, things are often upside down from the wisdom of the world (Isaiah 55:8-9; I Corinthians 1:25). As Jesus says, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all” (Mark 9:35). I also know from first-hand experience the joy and satisfied tiredness that comes from a job well done.

Serving has brought me joy in meeting and building relationships. There is great fulfillment in seeing the smile of another, being a part of something lasting (whether or not I see the results), and becoming more like Jesus.

For we serve “not only to those around us but also to the Lord (Ephesians 6:7-8). We know that what is done lasts for eternity beyond our sight (John 12:26). This is the fruit for which we labor!

Will you take steps toward serving today?

Imagine once more if the body of Christ had no servants. No people providing rides, walking alongside those in crisis, praying, raising children, being a friend, running tech, teaching, leading, encouraging, cleaning, fixing, and more. This is impossible and would not be the body of Christ!

Thankfully, we do not live in that imaginary world. Instead, we can look around us and see the beauty and diversity of many people who serve in a thousand ways. This picture is even more remarkable when serving in the body of Christ is done from an attitude of obedience and love for God - for his honor and glory.

So, rather than imagining a forest without trees, a garden with plants, a world without servants, or a living church without serving, let's go out there and be servants!

Lord Jesus, as it would please you bring me someone today whom I can serve” (Foster, p. 140).

Resources for further exploration (also cited in the post):

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