"Serve Richmond"

Sermon, 11.9.2008“Serve Richmond” Rev. Erik Bonkovsky Mark 10:32-45

Naturally, we want to serve.  We're hard-wired for worship.  Our hearts are idol factories, and it seems that we automatically want to worship and serve something.

Looking at some of the major relationships in the Bible, we see how service is an important part of life:

  • In the beginning, Adam is charged with tending God's garden.  He's just asked to tend it and keep it.  Gardening is an active relationship.  You don't garden from afar, or just stand there are watch the garden grow.  You have to get your hands dirty.  What you're actually doing is serving the plants: taking care of their basic needs in various ways.
  • The most basic relationship between a man and a woman is based on mutual service.  A woman is to serve her husband, and likewise a husband serves his wife.  Successful marriages are often described as relationships where each spouse puts the other spouse first.  You care for their needs before your own, and they care for yours.  Thus both spouses are well looked-after.
  • Jesus served all around him.  He spent all of him time traveling around and finding out and addressing the needs of those around him.  And when he died, he served others in the greatest manner of all: by giving his life for us.

It's hard to grasp this type of selfless service.  In our culture of success and upward mobility, we value things like power, position, and glory.  When we serve, it's hard not to expect something out of it implicitly.  We think "If I read my Bible x amount of times this week, I'll be on God's good side."  Or "If I go and feed the needy today, I'll officially be a 'good person.'"  There's this idea that we need to pay others back for our faults.  To get rid of our guilt at living so abundantly.  As if we must serve in order to blot out that very expensive trip we just took to the mall.  But this manner of serving misses the point.

We need to serve not to get something out of it or to feel like we've ransomed ourselves, but simply because we were served.  Jesus has already paid our ransom.  When someone pays your ransom, you don't owe it anymore!  We should serve not so that God will love us, but because he does.