“Even as the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve …” (Matthew 20:28).
I sometimes hear words that strike me as particularly saddening: “I’m too old / poor / sick / whatever / to help others.” Now I understand that our circumstances often do impede our ability to do things. But they shouldn’t ever impede our ability to serve.
The One we follow was dying on a cross when he made final arrangements – not for his own needs – but for the welfare of his mother (John 19:25-27), and there really are not any circumstances in which we cannot serve those around us in some way. We can always serve – we can always fight for good.
Too old? Let’s take just a couple of examples from the United States. Although 87 year old Virginia native Anna Taylor has no special training in serving others or special opportunity to do so, she has worked tirelessly with a pair of knitting needles over the past nine years and has knit over 1,000 sweaters for needy children in impoverished areas around the world. Likewise, Iowan Lillian Weber in similar circumstances has used needles to sew over 1,000 dresses and other garments for impoverished children in 47 African countries and 31 other countries around the world – and Lillian is 100 years old.
The organization “Little Dresses for Africa” coordinates the efforts of individuals like Anna and Lillian and has helped provide over two and a half million garments to children in need of basic clothing. If you can use needles, check them out – they have easy instructions on such things as quickly making girls' dresses from pillowcases and boys' shorts from Tshirts. And the end result is larger than just the clothing itself. In many African countries where the clothes are distributed, there are huge numbers of AIDS orphaned children. In those areas, well-dressed children look cared for, part of a family, and are much less likely to be abducted by human traffickers.
If you are like me and are not sure which end of a knitting or sewing needle is the front, you can still help spread the word and support work like this. It’s all part of service, it’s all part of the ongoing fight to which we are called.
And the truth is, Christian service is a demanding calling. It has no overtime bonuses, no vacations, no seniority benefits, and absolutely no retirement. But that just means countless opportunities to serve. The Christian fight is also never over in this life – but that just gives us endless opportunities for victory. The examples given here are just two out of a constellation of opportunities to fight and serve.
So too old to serve? Remember Anna and Lillian. Too poor to serve? Remember you are just as rich in time as the richest person in the world – we all get 24 hours a day. Too sick to serve? Encourage those around you – nurses and doctors as well as visitors and other patients. If we are developing a serving attitude, we will see opportunities to serve in almost any circumstances. The truth is, we should never be too anything to serve or to fight for good.