Step Towards Transformation
Matthew 20:26 (NIV)….whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant,
Jesus said, “if you want to be great in the kingdom, live a blessed life, its very simple: you have to serve other people.”
He wasn’t talking about an event that takes place every once on a while, he was talking about a lifestyle where you live to help others.
It’s not something you force yourself to do; it becomes a part of who you are. You’ve to develop that attitude of serving. That’s when you’ll have true happiness, fulfillment; not living to get, but living to give.
This is the reason a lot of people are unhappy; they’re only focused on themselves: “my dreams, goals, problems.” That’s going to limit you. You were created to give.
God puts people in our path on purpose so we can be a blessing to them.
Every morning, we should ask, “God, show me my assignment today. Help me to see the people that you want me to be good to.”
Illustration of Johnny:
A man named Johnny was always serving other people- running somebody to the airport, taking a friend to dinner, helping a relative with their work. When one day his friend’s dad was on dialysis, one of the family members asked Johnny. They knew he would gladly do it. One time his friend called him on a hot Saturday afternoon. He answered and it was very noisy in the background. Could tell a lot was going on. When this friend asked “Johnny where are you?” He said, “I’m on top of a house- my friends next-door neighbour is an elderly woman and we promised we will re-roof her house this weekend.” He didn’t even know that lady. It was his next-door neighbour’s friend. But Johnny had developed this habit to serve one another.
When you serve others, you are serving God. When you do it for others, you’re doing it for God.
Matthew 10:42 (NLT)…42 and if you give even a cup of cold water to one of the least of my followers, you will surely be rewarded.”
Every time you serve, help others, go out of your way to pick up that friend, God sees it; God is keeping the records. Nothing goes unnoticed; he says, “you will surely be rewarded.” That word “surely” means you can count on it; have no doubt, it will happen.
Here is The key: Don’t look for people to pay you back. People may not say “thank you.” You may not get the credit you deserve. Nobody may be giving you applause. But let me assure you; when you serve others, there is applause for you in heaven. Almighty God sees your sacrifice.
You don’t need people cheering you on, clapping for you; you’re not doing it for people, you’re doing it for God. He is the one that matters. He sees every act of kindness: he sees you volunteering at the hospital, taking the neighbour to their doctor’s appointment on your day off.
When you serve others, God promises you will be great in the kingdom.
You’re never too important, big, influential to serve.
Illustration Of A Rich Man;
I read a story of a man that was worth nine billion dollars [10,000 Crores]. He’s in heaven now. He started off with nothing. Got in the oil business and obviously made it very very big. He loved God. He was a good man, always helping others. He owned among other things a big retreat centre, where couples could go and spend the weekend and be refreshed. One day this couple came to the front desk. The receptionist had stepped away and it just so happened he was there. He was an older gentleman very kind very friendly. So he checked them in and gave them their key. Then picked up their suitcases and carried them to their room. He got them all set up, laid out their bags and even got them some ice. When he was about to leave, the lady reached in her purse and gave him a five dollar tip. She thought he was the bell-men I love the fact that he wasn’t too important to serve. He could have said, “Excuse me, Do You Know Who I am? I own all this. I don’t need your five dollars.”
No, here’s what I’ve learned it takes a big person to do something small. It takes humility to say, “I don’t have to do this, it’s not required of me, nobody will fault me if I don’t do it but I know in order to serve God, I need to serve other people”
If you want to have a great and fulfilled life, it doesn’t just come from success.
Having a bigger house, more accomplishments -that’s all great. God wants you to be blessed but if you’re going to be truly fulfilled, you have to develop this attitude of serving one another.
You were created to make somebody else’s life better.
Somebody needs what you have: your smile, love, encouragement, gifts. When you serve others, you will feel a satisfaction that money cannot buy. There will be a joy, peace, fulfillment that only God can give.
John 4:5-8, 27, 31-34 (ESV)..5 so he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour.7 a woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “give me a drink.” 8 (for his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) …27 just then his disciples came back…31 meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, “rabbi, eat.” 32 but he said to them, “i have food to eat that you do not know about.” 33 so the disciples said to one another, “has anyone brought him something to eat?” 34 Jesus said to them, “my food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.
He was saying, “I get fed by doing what God asks me to do. My nourishment comes from helping people. My food, strength, peace, joy, satisfaction comes when I serve others.
Sometimes you can work all day, and naturally at the end you’re kind of tired. But there are times when you serve others, you get up early to help that co-worker, you swing by the hospital and pray for that friend, you should be tired and rundown, but you leave reenergized, stronger, refreshed.
Why is that? Because when you do the will of your father, it doesn’t drain you, it replenishes you.
Many of you today, you serve, volunteer; you would think you would be tired, rundown, no, just like with Jesus, when you do what he asks you to do, you’re being fed: strength, energy, joy, peace comes.
You should be rundown, but when you serve others, God recharges, reenergizes, refreshes.
You don’t leave down, you leave up. God pays you back. When you serve others, make somebody else’s life better, lift people, help heal those that are hurting, not only are they being blessed, but you’re being blessed, re-fueled, filled back up.
If you never have any energy, joy, strength, one reason may be because you’re not doing anything for anybody else. You’ve got to get your mind off of yourself; go to the some home and cheer somebody up, coach the little children. When you lift others, God will always lift you.
This should be something we do, not every one in a while, if we have some extra time, no, this should be a lifestyle, where it’s a part of our nature. We’re always looking for ways to be a blessing. It doesn’t have to be something big, it can be something small; simple words of encouragement can brighten somebody’s day.
The scripture says, “kind words work wonders.” All through the day, we can serve God by speaking kind words; giving a compliment, encouragement, “hey, i love you, you look beautiful, i believe in you, i’m praying for you.” Simple things can make a big difference.
This should start in our homes. It’s great to serve people when you’re out in public, that’s important, but make sure you serve your own family.
Husbands, serve your wife: “honey, i’m going into the kitchen, can i bring you anything back?” “let me go put the kids to sleep.” Be a blessing to your spouse.
If we would have this servant’s mentality, more of our marriages would stay together.
Now, husband’s expect their wife to do everything for them. I’m not going to serve her. I want her to serve me, cook, clean, bring me my food, keep this house straightened up. That’s not a wife, that’s a maid. You might as well call a cleaning service. You can hire somebody to do that.
If you want a wife, if you want a friend, a lover, somebody to make your life great, you’ve got to serve that woman, make her feel special, bring her breakfast in bed, pick up your own stinky clothes, help with the children. It’s not a dictatorship, it’s a partnership.
Well Melwyn, the Bible says, the wife is to submit to her husband. The only scripture a lot of men know.
Yes but it also says the husband is to love his wife like Christ loved the church.
Ephesians 5:25 (NIV)..25 husbands, love your wives, just as christ loved the church and gave himself up for her
Jesus modelled a servant’s attitude. He had all the power in the world, the most influential person that ever lived. Yet he bowed down and washed his disciple’s feet. He could have hired somebody to do it. He could have called an angel down from heaven and said, “Hey wash their feet. I don’t feel like it. They stink today. Matthew has got some fungus on his toes. Peter needs some Deo.”
No. He willingly bowed down, pulled out his towel washed their feet one by one. He did this as an example, so we would know we’re never too important to be good to people.
You’re never too high to where you can’t bow down low and serve somebody else.
The more humility you walk in the more you serve others the higher God can take you in.
Some of you, if you would start serving your wife, husband, you’d see that marriage go to a new level.
Question to you: Who are you serving, Who are you lifting up, Who are you being good to? Be on the lookout for ways that you can be a blessing. God puts people in our path so we can brighten their day.
Illustration Of Old Man:
I heard of a story where the pastor announced in the church about baptism service to be held on Saturday. There was an older gentleman who didn’t have any kind of mobility, couldn’t walk and they rolled him in a wheel chair. The young man that was pushing the wheel chair, it looked he really cared about this man. He went to great lengths to make sure he was okay, to get the old man in to Baptism Pond, where you have to walk up some stairs and then walk back down into the water. Some of the ushers lifted up the older gentleman. That young man, he put one arm under his knees and one arm under his back and he carried him into the Baptism Pond. It was a very moving scene, seeing this older man crippled, couldn’t walk yet he was so determined that he wanted to be baptized and seeing the young man carry him down into the waters.
After the pastor got him baptized, the old man was put back in the wheelchair. The pastor asked to the young man, “is that your father?” He shook his head and said “no”. The pastor asked “is he your relative, your uncle?” He shook his head and said “no”.
The young man told that he was a random man. He never met him before but it was the sunday when that the pastor announced that he would be baptizing people in water, this older man had turned to him and just in passing said, “Wow, I wish I could be baptized. I guess I waited too long. I can’t walk anymore. So guess I missed my chance.”
The young man told this older man that he would help him to get baptized. That older man said, “I don’t have any family here and I can’t walk.” The young man said, “don’t worry about it, I’m going to take care of you.”
He went and picked him up, got him to the fourth floor where the baptism pond was, had him baptized. He had only met the man one time before.
My prayer is “God help us to have that same compassion. Help us to not be so busy, so preoccupied with our own affairs that we can’t serve somebody else.”
God is asking us today
Helping less fortunate people is the closest thing to the heart of God.
I could understand it if it was his father- it would make sense to me. If it was a relative a longtime friend but he did it for a total stranger. He gave up his Saturday. He could have been out enjoying off on his day off down at the beach, working out, hanging with friends. Nothing wrong with that but his attitude was- I have an assignment. There’s somebody God put in my path on purpose so I can serve. Somebody I can brighten their day. Somebody I can make a difference in their life.
Matthew 25:40 (NIV)..40 … whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
I love the fact that this young man, he wasn’t looking for any recognition. He wasn’t making some big announcement-look at me everybody, I’m doing a good deed. He didn’t have anybody cheering him on. He was quietly serving this other man. Nobody would have known about it, if the pastor hadn’t have said something.
Many of you like him are constantly being good to people, going out of your way to be a blessing, making sacrifices nobody knows about. But let me tell you God sees what you’re doing. He sees your heart of compassion. Nobody may be clapping for you down here but up there all of heaven is cheering you on.
When nobody is clapping for you, when you’re not being told thank you, when you’re not getting the recognition don’t be discouraged and think that you’re being overlooked.
Your reward will be greater. The scripture says
Matthew 6:4 (NIV)..4 … your father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
The scripture says what you do in secret God will reward you in the open.
Illustration Of An Usher:
I read of a story of a usher who went to be with the Lord. He had volunteered in the church for nearly 30 years. He was faithful. He was an older gentleman and he always dressed nice, had a pleasant smile, a quiet behaviour. You could count on him. He told his pastor that when he dies he wished to be buried wearing his church’s Usher’s badge.
There he was in the casket in his finest suit with the badge that he had worn for nearly 30 years. He was so proud to be an usher. He could have been buried with anything he wanted but his greatest honour was serving other people.
Don’t you know when he arrived in heaven there was an amazing welcoming ceremony.
I can hear the angels sing. I can see people clapping. I can see the trumpets blowing. See there wasn’t a lot of fanfare not a lot of applause for his life of service and generosity here on the earth but nothing goes unnoticed. You will be rewarded.
Illustration of Stephen:
The scripture tells
Acts 7:55 (NIV)..Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.
When Stephen went to heaven Jesus stood up to welcome him. Jesus is normally seated at the right hand of the Father but I believe there are times like with this when Jesus says, “you know what this one deserves a standing ovation”. He’ll stand up for welcome you home.
Illustration Of Missionary Couple:
I heard about this older missionary couple they had served over in Africa for more than 60 years. They were helping the less fortunate people, given their whole life and done so much good. Now they were returning home to New York City to finally retire. It just so happened they were booked on the same ship with President Teddy Roosevelt. He was returning home from one of his big hunting expeditions. When the ship pulled into the dock in New York there was all this fanfare. Band was playing. The mayor and other dignitaries lined up. Balloons going up in the air, confetti coming down. When the crowd saw President Roosevelt step off the boat, they begin to cheer. Tens of thousands of them waving, cheering, trying to snap a picture.
The missionary said to his wife doesn’t seem right. We’ve given our whole life to help other people, to give, to serve, to make a difference. He goes on a vacation and the whole world welcomes him home. Nobody even knows we’re here.
They got off the ship very discouraged. That night he was praying saying, “God I don’t understand it. He goes on vacation and comes home to the fanfare of the world. We come home after a whole life of service and nobody even says hello.” Down in his spirit he heard God speak to him. God said, “son it’s because you’re not home yet.”
There will be a celebration, there will be a reward, you will hear a band playing like you’ve never heard before. It will be the angels. All of heaven will welcome you home.
Illustration; A Dying Girl Who Shows Honour Of Serving God –Testimony By Paediatrician Doctor Dave, Who Was Also A Pastor:
One Sunday, a Sunday school teacher had prepared a lesson on being useful. She taught the children that everyone can be useful—that usefulness is serving God, and that doing so is worthy of honour. The kids quietly soaked up those words, and as the lesson ended, there was a short moment of silence. [A little girl named] Sarah spoke up. “Teacher, what can I do? I don’t know how do to many useful things.”
Not anticipating that kind of response, the teacher quickly looked around and spotted an empty flower vase on the windowl. “Sarah, you can bring in a flower and put it in the vase. That would be a useful thing.”
Sarah frowned. “But that’s not important.” “It is,” replied the teacher, “if you are helping someone.”
Sure enough, the next Sunday Sarah brought in a dandelion and placed it in the vase. In fact, she continued to do so each week. Without reminders or help, she made sure the vase was filled with a bright yellow flower, Sunday after Sunday. When the teacher told the pastor about Sarah’s faithfulness, he placed the vase upstairs in the main sanctuary next to the pulpit. That Sunday he gave a sermon on the honour of serving others, using Sarah’s vase as an example. The congregation was touched by the message, and the week started on a good note. …
During that same week the pastor got a call from Sarah’s mother. She worried that Sarah seemed to have less energy than usual and that she didn’t have an appetite. Offering her some reassurances, he made room in his schedule to see Sarah the following day. After Sarah had a number of tests and days of examinations, he sat numbly in his office, Sarah’s reports on his lap. The results were tragic. [She had leukemia.]
On the way home, he stopped to see Sarah’s parents so that he could personally give them the sad news. Sarah’s genetics and the leukemia that was attacking her small body were a horrible mix. Sitting at their kitchen table, he did his best to explain to Sarah’s parents that nothing could be done to save her life. Time pressed on. Sarah became confined to bed and to the visits that many people gave her. She lost her smile. She lost most of her weight. And then it came: another telephone call. Sarah’s mother asked the pastor to come and see her. He dropped everything and ran to the house. There she was, a small bundle that barely moved. After a short examination, he knew that Sarah would soon be leaving this world. He urged her parents to spend as much time as possible with her.
That was a Friday afternoon. On Sunday morning church started as usual. The singing, the sermon—it all seemed meaningless when he thought of Sarah. He felt enveloped in sadness. At the end of the sermon, the pastor suddenly stopped speaking. His eyes wide, he stared at the back of the church with utter amazement. Everyone turned to see what he was looking at. It was Sarah! Her parents had brought her for one last visit. She was bundled in a blanket, a dandelion in one little hand. She didn’t sit in the back row. Instead she slowly walked to the front of the church where her vase still resting by the pulpit. She put her flower in the vase and a piece of paper beside it. Then she returned to her parents. Seeing little Sarah place her flower in the vase for the last time moved everyone. At the end of the service, people gathered around Sarah and her parents, trying to offer as much love and support as possible.
Four days later, Sarah died. …the senior pastor asked to see this pastor after the funeral. In a low voice he said, “Dave, i’ve got something you ought to see.” He pulled out of his pocket the piece of paper that Sarah had left by the vase. Holding it out to me, he said, “You’d better keep this; it may help you in your line of work.”
Sarah had written:..Dear God, This vase has been the biggest honour of my life….Sarah
Sarah’s note and her vase have helped me to understand. I now realize in a new way that life is an opportunity to serve God by serving people. And, as Sarah put it, that is the biggest honour of all.
Many of you have been faithful, giving, serving, volunteering. Be encouraged today. God sees every act of kindness. Nothing goes unnoticed. You will be rewarded.
So be on the lookout this week for ways that you can be good to people. If you’ll develop this lifestyle of serving, God says you will be great in the kingdom.