I find it much easier to think about what it means to live a life of service in theory. By that I mean that I can understand the love of God means love of neighbor intellectually and, perhaps, even when I am called to help out someone I know who is in need. But when I am driven to get more specific than that about what a true life of service could look like… well, I get uncomfortable to say the least.
The true Christian life is one lived in sacrificial love and service to our neighbors. Jesus’ paid for this new way of living with his own life! The resurrection of Christ was, and is, the first fruits of the Holy Spirit… the call and ability to live our lives unafraid that there might not be enough love or grace or mercy to go around.
And so we serve each other, and our neighbors, sacrificially. We give everything of who we are away because we have proof, in Jesus’ body and blood, that there will always be enough.
What does this mean for us as a people and as a church?
First, it means that we can no longer put our own needs ahead of our neighbor’s. Our very existence is defined not by how much we have but by how much we give!
Second, the definition of neighbor is different than the one that we are used to. Neighbors in the Christian life have nothing to do with country of origin, the past, present or future good they may or may not do, even if they believe in an entirely different God than us! From the Samaritan woman to the immigrants to, yes, the people right next door we are called to give everything away in service.
Finally, we live this life not because we have to, but because we can. Our God is a God of overflowing grace and mercy. God would never call any of us to a task without first giving us the tools to accomplish that task! Friends, it is our baptism that gives us not just the mission but also the means to accomplish that mission!
Let us be a church, and a people, that seeks to give everything away for the sake of our neighbors day after day!
This is part one of a six-part sermon series from the book of 2 Corinthians. Stay connected with the Good Shepherd Blog to follow the series and look for a new podcast launching soon that will capture the entire series.