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The Art of Being Served

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The Art of Being Served

A few weeks ago, I was talking with a friend who had recently experienced a difficult tragedy in his life. You could hear the struggle and the pain in his voice. As we began talking through the whole situation, he made a striking confession to me.

“I’m not very good at letting others serve me.”

The statement resonated with me. As soon as he said it, I recognized the same fault in my own life. I love being the guy that others can lean on. While it does drain me, I enjoy serving others when they need the extra push or encouragement. I like being the cheerleader for those friends who are discouraged or the coach for those walking into unknown territory in their lives. God has gifted me with the ability to graciously lay out truth even when it may be hard to hear. But in those moments when the tables are turned and I need the support, I allow very few people to walk through those struggles with me.

Sometimes I’ll excuse it by assuming they couldn’t understand or that their situations are worse and they don’t need to hear my problems. I’ll rely heavily on my family but it doesn’t go much further than that. While this looks like selflessness (and I often convince myself it is), it’s really selfish pride that keeps me from letting others in. Letting others serve and encourage you requires humility. It necessitates admitting your weaknesses and even your failures.

We talk about the importance of growing and serving together in the context of the local church but we rarely discuss this important concept of letting others serve us. By not submitting ourselves to the ministry of the church, we not only miss out but we rob others of the chance to use their spiritual gifts in our lives. So how can we give others the chance to speak into our lives and serve us at various points of need?

1. Seek Encouragement

In recent months, Holly and I have been praying and walking through several tough situations together. I’ve been blessed with some guys in my life who I meet with on a regular basis. In each of our meetings over the last several weeks, I have walked away deeply encouraged after explaining the fears, concerns, and options in front of me. I really believe God used them to speak the right words to my heart at the right time. And in every meeting it was the same message – “It’s okay to be weak.” If even for just a few hours, each of them allowed me to seek freedom from the burdens that were weighing me down while turning my gaze on Christ who is bigger than my greatest fears.

2. Seek Accountability

Not only do we focus on encouraging each other, we also hold each other accountable. I was recently talking with a close friend about the number of marriages we’ve witnessed falling apart over the last several months. It’s not my friends’ parents who are getting divorced anymore. It’s my friends…my age! Many of them haven’t even been married as long as Holly and me.

For this very reason, we hold each other accountable to be the husbands and fathers God has called us to be. My brothers in Christ serve me by holding me to the biblical standards set for us. But they can only do this if I am willing to admit where I am falling short and give them permission to question me.

While painful at times, their service could easily save my marriage someday. Likewise, they help ensure that my son will grow up with a godly picture of manhood in his life. They even protect my ministry by making sure I don’t wander away from the most important aspects of my calling.

3. Seek Perspective

I am so thankful for older men in my life who have invested in me through the years. While each of my parents have been a huge source of wisdom , I’ve also been blessed by several men who have offered advice and perspective in how to approach the decisions I face. They have shared stories from their past, offered advice on things they wish they had known, and pointed me in the direction of others who can help.

But this doesn’t just come from older men in my life. Even friends my own age have been able to provide remarkable perspective in my life. One is preparing to be an overseas missionary in a dangerous part of the world. Another is an old seminary buddy and our church’s youth minister. They have each been in my shoes at other points in their lives and have ideas that I would have never considered.

The reality is that we can’t effectively serve if we aren’t allowing ourselves to be served. While my examples apply strongly to men, women need these same forms of service as well. Women in the church will benefit from mutual encouragement, accountability, and perspective as I have with the guys in my life. I love seeing the encouragement Holly gains from women who share her same struggles and frustrations in life, whether it has to do with marriage, parenting, or even self-image.

The point is this – no matter where you are in life, let others in to help you draw closer to Christ. Even when it’s tough, seek it out and be grateful for those kinds of friends.

Discuss: How have others served you recently?

Posted in: Church

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