One of the essential elements of a disciple– and therefore of the church as a whole– is sacrificial service. Yet in the flurry of activity that is the church, it’s amazing how quickly we forget about sacrificial service to others and turn inward instead.
Jesus washed his disciples’ feet. We are to follow his example in providing humble, sacrificial service to others. Just as he served the poor, healed the sick, and brought hope to the broken, we are to follow in his footsteps. We are sent on mission to the world around us. We were not only meant to love and serve one another within the Body of Christ, but everyone. After all, the question “Who is my neighbor?” was answered with the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). We are to serve those around us– those outside of us– with our gifts, our time, and our money.
That means all people, but especially the least of these. When Paul and Barnabas were sent forth on mission to serve, the other apostles had only one injunction: “All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I had been eager to do all along” (Gal. 2:10). Being mindful and generous in the face of poverty was that important for the church. The church that represents the coming of the Kingdom of God engages in sacrificial service to the world around us. And it never forgets the poor.
We all say we believe this, but how do we keep it practical and move the belief toward action? In Brandon Hatmaker’s Austin New Church, each missional community seeks to give away as much time as they keep. Roughly half of the group’s time is spent inward and half is spent outward. Whenever the missional community leaders see that balance shifting, they know to return to the issue of sacrificial service. If you want to help your people grow in the area of sacrificial service, check out Brandon Hatmaker’s The Barefoot Primer. It helps people act their way into a new way of thinking.