By: Gabrielle Hatley
Song: More Like Jesus
God today, and everyday, we thank you! We thank you for your unwavering and unconditional love. We thank you for your Son and the example he has set for us. We thank you for his servant’s heart. As we move into a new year and a new chapter, open our hearts and our minds to growth and to change. We ask you to place within us a servant’s heart like Christ’s. Instill in us the desire to become more like Christ this year. Amen.
Text: Philippians 2:5-11
“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
As we read Philippians 2:5-11, we find Paul encouraging us to be like Christ- to have his mindset. Paul continues on to explain that Christ humbled himself in all things. He came to earth as a man and he served others his entire life-to the point of death upon the cross. Jesus consistently served others in everything he did. Period. He put the needs of others and obedience to his father over any need or desire of his own. And he did so with a mindset of humility and honor, not for self gain or recognition.
How appropriate for us to consider our mindset as we approach the new year? To be blunt, it’s not about you. And to be fair, it’s not about me either. If what Paul says is true, and we know it is, it’s all about serving others and humbling ourselves like Christ did. Every single day. That is our purpose for 2021.
So how do we do that? I think it starts by recognizing that true humility is found in selfless serving. We don’t serve to gain; we don’t serve to show off; we don’t serve to check a box; we don’t serve just to serve. No. We serve because Christ did. We serve out of obedience. We serve out of love. We serve to show others Christ’s love.
While understanding what selfless servitude is is important, it doesn’t mean anything unless we act on that knowledge. We can’t just talk about taking on the mindset and attitude of Christ, we must do it! People who serve like Christ sacrifice. They sacrifice their wants and needs to meet the wants and needs of others and desire to gain nothing in return. This can take shape in a variety of forms. It can be washing dishes, buying food, praying for others, forgiving others, extending grace, feeding the hungry (and not posting about it on Social Media), being a listening ear, and so many other things. It’s also sharing the Gospel. Humbly serving means doing all of these things and so many others regardless of your personal circumstance and even if it’s uncomfortable.
My hope as I enter the new year is to adopt the mindset of Christ faithfully and holding nothing back. My hope is to be a humble servant of God and of the people of Stanly County. My hope is to selflessly give all of myself- in the big ways, in the little ways, in the things that everyone will see, and in the things no one will ever know. My hope is to be known as someone who serves. My hope is that my community will know Christ’s love because I have consistently poured out love and have consistently served. My hope is that 2021 is the year that I experience God more fully through humble servitude.
Even more so, this is my hope for North. As we enter into a new year, I hope we adopt the mindset of Christ faithfully and hold nothing back. I hope we become humble servants of God and of the people of Stanly County. I hope we selflessly give all of ourselves- in the big ways, in the little ways, in the things that everyone will see, and in the things no one will ever know. I hope we become known as the church that serves. I hope that our community will know Christ’s love because we have consistently poured out love and have consistently served. I hope 2021 is the year that we at North experience God more fully through humble servitude.
Embrace Christ’s mindset of humble servitude. Actively look for ways to selflessly serve God and his people.
Regardless of age, the application is the same: Embrace Christ’s mindset of humble servitude. Actively look for ways to selflessly serve God and his people.
Pre-K & Elementary Age: You can’t serve like Christ if you don’t know how Christ served. I encourage you to define “servant” and “serve.” Then explain to your little ones that Jesus was a servant. He helped others even when he could have helped himself, and he didn’t get a prize or a reward. Explain that when they are helping others, they are serving Christ. Ask your kiddos how they can help others. Write this list down and put it somewhere they can see throughout the week. Help them choose one thing to do during the upcoming week.
Middle & High School Students: Have your kids and teenagers take ownership of their serving. At this age, you shouldn’t be telling them to serve day in and day out. That doesn’t mean you stop helping or guiding, but it does mean you take the back seat. Ask them to come up with a list of ways they can serve others and continue to add to it throughout the year. It isn’t a bad idea to encourage them to keep a journal or a chart to keep track and to write down anything God reveals to them through their serving-not so they see how much they’ve done, but so they can see how much God has done through them!
Young Adult: It’s so easy to get wrapped up in ourselves and in what we’ve got going on in our lives. We have needs. We have wants. We have problems. I challenge you to begin looking at others-really looking. What do people need? And how can God use you to fill that need? Maybe it’s in a grocery store paying for someone’s food or getting groceries into someone’s car. Maybe it’s being present so you’re aware when someone isn’t truly “okay.” Maybe it’s listening to the Holy Spirit when you’re told to pick up the phone to call that person or delete that text/post and put away your phone. I challenge you to see opportunities to serve like Christ in everything everyday.
Adult: Don’t narrow your focus and miss the opportunities to serve. No matter why you narrow your focus-raising your kids, becoming financially stable, getting the job promotion-it’s important to recognize that those things are not your sole purpose in life. It’s easy to make raising your kids your life. It’s easy to make your job your life. What isn’t easy is recognizing your job is to serve like Christ while you raise your kids and as you work for that job promotion. Don’t spend all your energy focusing on the worldly things and miss those opportunities to serve like Christ. This doesn’t mean that you don’t strive to raise your kids well and in a Christ-centered home. It doesn’t mean working for the job promotion is bad. It doesn’t even mean working long hours is wrong. It simply means those things can’t be your purpose. Paul was clear. Our purpose is to embrace Christ’s mindset and attitude of humble servitude. And you should bring that mindset into every single thing you do.
Empty Nesters: Now is not the time to sit back and let the next generation take care of it. While it is important to allow the next generation to take their place and to lead when the timing is right, that doesn’t mean you serve any less. Christ didn’t grow out of humble serving, and neither should you. Continue to look for ways to serve others.
God, I pray for North. I pray for my church family. And this year, I pray you radically change who we are as a church. I pray we adopt Christ’s mindset faithfully and hold nothing back. I pray we become humble servants of God and of the people of Stanly County. I pray we selflessly give all of ourselves- in the big ways, in the little ways, in the things that everyone will see, and in the things no one will ever know. I pray we become known as the church that serves. I pray that our community will know your love because we have consistently poured out love and have consistently served. I pray 2021 is the year that we at North experience you more fully through humble servitude.