Serving others is serving jesus
For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’ - Matthew 25:35-36
An old boss and friend used to tell me, “the best staff are the ones who sweep the floors”. What he meant was – the people who succeed are the ones who are willing to do whatever it takes to collectively improve the organization.
This axiom has stayed with me for years, because the growth of the church depends on the body of Christ working together to reach people with the Gospel. It means being willing to do whatever it takes, regardless of title, role or responsibility, to expand God’s Kingdom.
This is too important to overlook, because how we welcome others as guests to our church depends on everyone seeing themselves as a person who is “willing to sweep the floors”.
Another way to say this might be that all in our church are called to find ways to serve others – through their gifts, talents, resources and energy. When you serve for the sake of others, you discover a deeper love for each other. In turn, your love spurs you on to serve more.
That’s what Jesus modeled for the disciples – serving so that they would understand their serving pointed people to him. You may remember Jesus’ famous parable in Matthew 25:
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’
37 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? 39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
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 25:34-40
When you serve someone, in reality you are serving Christ.
This weekend our church will look at what it means to have the vision and value of being a welcoming congregation. In preparation for this message, I’ve been recounting the ways that I’ve already seen servanthood modeled in our church.
A few weeks ago, our Thursday outreach team was delivering masks to neighbors. On our way back to the church, one of the women who serves in this ministry stopped to pick up litter in front of the church. To her, it was a small way to improve the welcome that a guest might see when they first arrive at the church.
It wasn’t her job to clean the litter from the church. No one asked her to do it. She did it because, for her, it was one small way to “sweep the floors”.
As we welcome others, I want to challenge you to have the same servant’s heart. Welcome—hospitality—isn’t just for the pastor or the greeters. It’s something we all do, because litter in the parking lot matters. If someone says “hi” to a first-time guest matters. Every little detail makes an eternal difference.
We are all called to “sweep the floors” – to do things that we may not be asked to do. But you do them anyway, because it’s an opportunity to improve the body of Christ and, in turn, draw someone closer to Jesus.