For a few years, while I was younger, I worked at Ruby Tuesday's waiting tables in Maryville, TN. I'm not sure if there is one in Memphis anymore, which is a shame. They have an incredible salad bar! I didn't work there long, maybe 4-5 months in all. Waiting tables can be a great way to make a little extra money, but for me, it was stressful. My wife waited tables through college and loved it. I, on the other hand, would get too worked up. I wanted orders to be right, food to be on time, and everything to be perfect. I would always think, how would I want to be served. Actually, if I'm being honest, I was thinking, "how can I make a better tip?!" This was the goal. Do whatever and say whatever, to make the customer happy and my wallet full!
We all know that this is not true service. I have not always been the best example of this! As you read God's Word, it becomes very clear that this is our purpose though. Jesus said in Matthew 20, that "He did not come to be served, but to serve." How much more should we serve, if we see God doing just that?! It's not always glamorous, and it doesn't always give us a "great tip." If that is what you are looking for, then it isn't service to begin with.
As we look at Scripture, some of my favorite servers are found in the book of Acts. In Chapter 6 we see seven men chosen to serve the church. "Now in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose complaint against the Hebrews by the Hellenists, because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution. Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, 'It is not desirable that we should leave the word or God and serve tables. Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.'"
As they prayed they chose the seven, two of which were Stephen and Philip. Did you catch the requirements for service? As we serve others we should do it full of the Holy Spirit while trying our best to have a good reputation among others. Obviously, we can't please everyone or have everyone like us at all times. Romans 8 does tell us though, "If it is possible on your part, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." Stephen and Philip served faithfully in everything given to them. How do I know this? God would not have elevated them later in scripture if they were not faithful in serving the widows. Stephen did "great wonders and signs among the people," verse 8 tells us. In fact, he became the first martyr in the church because of the incredible way that God used him. God will not give you more if you are not faithful with what you have. Wherever you are, be faithful. With whatever you have, be faithful.
We see Philip given more in Acts 8 as he ministers to the Ethiopian. Listen to what Smith Wigglesworth has to say about Philip: "Man chose him to serve tables, but God chose him to win souls. O, if I could only stir you up to see that as you are faithful in performing the humblest office, God can fill you with His Spirit and make you a chosen vessel for Himself, and promote you to a place of mighty ministry in the salvation of souls and in the healing of the sick."
I love this statement. If you could only see that being faithful in the little, stirs the heart of God. Doing the best with what you have, causes God's head to turn your direction. "Whoever wants to become great among you," Jesus said in Matthew 20, "must be your servant."
This is the way of the Kingdom.
Being found faithful.