Monday, January 17, 2022 is a great day of celebration here in the United States. First, we honor the life and legacy of civil rights leader and slain activist, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Although today is not his birthday (January 15th is his actual birthday), today is the day that we remember and honor him for all of the work that he did in his life and all that has happened since his death. January 17th is also a special day because some amazing people were born on this day- Muhammad Ali (boxer, 1942), Michelle Obama (1st African American First Lady, 1964), James Earl Jones (actor, 1931), and Betty White (actress, 1922). Today my church celebrates the birthday of Lady Sylvia, the wife of our Executive Pastor, and at home we are celebrating the birthday of my sister, Ionie. Yes, indeed, today is a day of celebration!
Yet as I think of the amazing aforementioned people, some that you may know and others that you may not, I cannot help but notice the one thing that they all have in common- they have committed their life to the service of others. While they may not have set out to be a humble servant, that is who they are and that is the legacy that they will forever leave behind. I dedicate today’s #MondayMessage to my sister, Ionie, and all of the other people that she shares this special day with, for I truly believe that anyone born on January 17th was born with a special heart, committed to the growth and service of others. Here’s to you…
How old are you today? Better yet, think back to when you were a toddler or to the earliest age that you can remember. What did you want to be? What did you want to do in the world? What did you want your tombstone to say? Ok, maybe you didn’t think about that last one, but today I dare you to think of it for one main reason- we are in a season of daring to do more than we could ever imagine… and today, we are daring to serve.
What is service? That answer will vary from person to person, across religious beliefs, across economic status, and across physical and mental ability. Service to one person may be taking the trash out for a neighbor, while someone else may believe that service is feeding and clothing the hungry. Neither is right and neither is wrong; service is simply what you do to better the life of someone else. It is with that general definition that I believe entertainers can be people of service… if their heart is in it.
When I think of service, I think of the countless examples seen in the Bible. I think of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and how they spent their lives doing what God had called them to do. I think of Moses [reluctantly] serving as the leader who would deliver freedom to his people. I think of Caleb and Joshua, serving in battle and choosing to see the good in the midst of a terrible situation. I think of Ruth and how she refused to leave her mother-in-law’s side even after her husband had died and all money was gone. I think of Job and how he lost everything- almost up to the point of losing his life- but he still gave God praise. I think David (who later became King David) and how his heart was that of a servant’s even when he worked with his father’s sheep. All of those examples, and that’s just a PORTION of the Old Testament.
Service is a common theme in the Bible and it causes me to believe that service should be a common theme in our lives today.
So, how do you serve? You don’t have to be in the military, a medical professional, or even hold a religious title to serve. You can serve by simply opening the door for another person, returning a lost wallet to its owner, or saying “thank you” when someone else does kind things for you. Since service is simply what you do to better others, it doesn’t always have to cost money and it doesn’t have to occupy a long period of your time.
Beloved, today I challenge you to serve another in some capacity. No matter how great or small your service is, do it with love, joy, and compassion- maybe not for yourself or the recipient, but for the world at large. The truth is, every great leader did not set out to make life better for themselves or one individual person; they dared to dream and their dream was met with God’s reality, love, and providence.
To you I say- Dare to make a difference, Dare to change lives, Dare to Serve.