Inspired by the Africa Study Bible

Part of living out the Christian faith is being completely selfless. This is much easier said than done in a world that preaches about greatness and personal gain. We earn countless treasures on earth and store up none in Heaven. Unfortunately, there are many Christians that have twisted the idea of service into a selfish act that benefits themselves over God. Because these selfish people have mastered the art of masking their true intentions, it is hard to see and find selfish service in action.

There is nothing wrong with being successful and pursuing goals in life. When being the best becomes an idol, then there is a problem arising. Selfishness is one of the most wicked attributes that a person can have because it blinds them from the reality and consequences of their behavior (Mark 9:30-50). Selfishness can infect an entire project or team, taking it down the wrong path and ruining the chances of it building God’s Kingdom.

“It is through sacrificial service for others that one becomes great in God’s Kingdom. Do all you can to serve others rather than seeking power or prestige.”

Africa Study Bible

Do you want to ensure that you avoid selfish service at all costs? Here are some characteristics of true vs. selfish service:

  1. True service is done out of willingness, which means that feelings of motivation are irrelevant. Selfish service is forced, which often leads to incomplete or insufficient work.
  2. True service means accepting any sort of task or job, regardless of comfort zone. Selfish service picks and chooses what is done based on “wanting” to do it or not.
  3. True service builds others up. Selfish service builds up self.

Jesus is the perfect example of a selfless person that was too preoccupied with serving and helping others to be concerned about building up himself. The Africa Study Bible tells us on page 1739 that Jesus knew that He did not need to be built up, because his Father was raising him up through his service on earth. God does the same thing for us. Jesus knew the importance of service, and so should we.

Service is an opportunity and a privilege. Service opens doors for the gospel to be shared to someone who may not otherwise hear the name of Jesus. We never know what someone is walking through – service can change the course of their life through Jesus’ love. Service is sharing. Jesus says in Matthew 25:40:

“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’

Matthew 25:40

Who is your “least of these”? What have you done for them and why? What is your mindset toward service? Do you need to make any adjustments based on what you’ve read today?

Pray and ask God to give you an attitude of servanthood like Jesus. Ask him to give you opportunities to serve others in unique ways. Ask him to use you. Ask him to give you a heart of willingness and availability. Pray the Scripture passages listed above. Look to and lean on Jesus when it comes to service – he’s the perfector of the craft.

This excerpt is inspired by an Article of the Africa Study Bible titled, “True vs. Selfish Service”. Africa Study Bible Articles are about the Christian life and critical concerns that face the church in Africa and its people. The articles help you understand how to apply the bible to a specific area of life where God’s wisdom is needed.

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