Did you know that service is a way of saying thanks to God? You can never truly pay back the overwhelming love and support your parents may have shown you. But you can pass the love on to your children. In the same way, you can never repay God for granting you life in Christ and for blessing you, but you can pass his love onto others in practical ways.
One of the great barriers to service, however, is pride. Pride causes men to scoff at the thought of putting others first. Pride teaches you to calculate how every action will further your own reputation or advance you toward your goals. Pride makes you keep careful record of who is next in line for something good.
The apostle Paul had much to say to us about sacrifice. Chapter twelve of the book of Romans portrays several specific areas in which you can be a living sacrifice and serve God in the world. As a living sacrifice, you surrender using your gifts solely for your own advancement. You seek to bless others instead and sacrifice your time and resources for their benefit. In the process, your life will be shaped into the image of greatest man who ever lived: Jesus Christ. Where do you sense God calling you to serve? Let your motivation for service flow from a heart that’s thankful to God for the grace he’s shown you.
Did you know the Nobel Peace Prize is named after Alfred Nobel, the Swedish industrialist who invented dynamite? How did this come to be? It’s an interesting story. When Alfred’s brother Ludvig died, a newspaper mistook Ludvig for Alfred. As a result, the newspaper printed Alfred’s obituary, with a headline that read, ‘The Merchant of Death Is Dead.’ The obituary then proceeded to describe Alfred as a man who made his fortune helping people kill one another.
Alfred Nobel was cut to the heart. His legacy, as the obituary described it, was simply tragic. So he set himself to the task of changing it while he was still able. When Alfred really died eight years later, he left $9 million to fund awards for people whose work benefited humanity’thus, the birth of what we know as Nobel Peace Prizes.
Alfred Nobel was given a rare gift: the opportunity to read his own obituary, and make changes before it was too late. Men, perhaps it would be fruitful to spend a while imagining yourselves in his shoes. If your life ended today, how might those around you assess your contribution to your fellow man? Don’t concern yourself with the quantity of those contributions, for bigger is certainly not always better. Concentrate instead on their quality.
Unlike Alfred Nobel, none of us will probably ever read our own obituaries. However, all of us have the opportunity to live examined lives, and to make changes where changes need making.