What Does the Bible Say About Service?
29 SEP 2017
Many people are curious about what the Bible has to say about service. God expects those who love Him to provide service to others. By providing service to others, we become God's hands reaching out to others. God has a special place in His heart for the most vulnerable members of society and charges his followers with providing service to them.
The purpose of service is so God can reach others through our hands. In II Cor. 9:12-13, the Bible says that the service we provide not only meets needs but expresses thanks to God and leads others to praise God. The Bible also says that service builds up the "body of Christ." (See Eph. 4:12.) In I Cor. 12, the Bible explains that there are different kinds of service (v. 4) and then identifies many ways to provide service to others.
The Bible emphasizes the importance of providing service to others. When asked how to inherit eternal life, Jesus indicated that the two key points were loving God and loving your neighbor as yourself. (See Luke 10:27.) The parable of "The Good Samaritan" is a good example of how the person who loves his neighbor is the one who provides service to him (see Luke 10:25-37). Everyone is your neighbor and you love your neighbor by providing him service when he is in need.
According to the Bible, Jesus spent most of his ministry providing service to others. He performed numerous miracles, such as healing the blind, which met physical needs, but he also provided service in meeting emotional needs. Jesus' interaction with the woman at the well is a wonderful example of this (see John 4:1-26). The Bible instructs us to follow Jesus' example (see I Cor. 1:11).
Some people mistakenly believe that the Bible does not require those who follow God to provide service to others. Their reasoning is that they are "saved" by grace alone, so they are therefore under no obligation to provide service for others. While it is true that people are "saved" by grace alone (Ephesians 2:8), the Bible is clear that "faith without deeds is dead." See Jam. 2:26, where the Bible says that God expects his followers to provide service to others.
The Bible contains roughly 30 references to God's concern for the widow and the orphan (or fatherless) as well as multiple references to His concern for the alien (see Zechariah 7:10). Widows, orphans, and aliens were the most vulnerable members of society and God expects His people to provide them with service (see Deuteronomy 24:19 for an example). God will pass judgment on those who fail to provide service for the most vulnerable members of society, as shown in Mal. 3:5.