What Is Christian Discipleship and What Does It Mean?

Why Christians Need to Serve Others

The Bible is filled with stories about people who served God and others. Noah spent years building an Ark that saved the entire animal kingdom and all of humanity from extinction. Moses led his people out of Egyptian captivity and spent 40 years serving them in the wilderness. The Apostle Paul completed three missionary journeys in his 30-plus years of ministry. Although he suffered from beatings, imprisonment and ultimately, death, Paul was compelled to spread the good news of the Gospel.

The actions of these Bible heroes and others in Scripture provide examples of service, but Jesus is the greatest model of mercy the world has ever known. In Mark 10:45, the purpose of Jesus' ministry is revealed. "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

As God's son, Jesus had the opportunity to languish in his title, to send his disciples where he didn't want to go, or to build the world's largest congregation in one of his favorite cities. But instead, Jesus humbly served his father in Heaven, exhibiting radical love through radical acts of service.

Jesus advocated and practiced self denial, which is the true essence of love. In the midst of rejection and persecution, Jesus continued to serve. He never used his circumstances as an excuse to take a break. He did rest, and he spent time alone, but the purpose in his separation was to pray and to gather wisdom, strength and direction from Father God.

As Christians, the level of service to God and others reveals the condition of a person's heart. Through acts of service and continual reading of the Word, a Christian's heart gets softened so that compassion and mercy find a place. A hard heart cannot model Christ, nor can it serve without selfish intent.

To fully understand the ministry and character of Jesus, a Christian must study what is written about his life. The Gospels of Mathew, Mark, Luke and John provide the foundation for a service-centered existence. The online dictionary Wikipedia defines the word Christian as "a follower of Jesus of Nazareth, referred to as Christ." The first known usage of this term is found in Acts 11:26: "The disciples were first called Christians at Antioch."

Disciples of Christ should act different than the rest of the world if they are to reflect the character of Christ. Through Godly compassion, disciples reach out into the world. Through study of the Word, Christians can lead people to Christ and pass on Godly principles. Overall, the actions of a Christian, also known as their works, become a snapshot of the heart.

Observe the mannerisms, actions and life of a Christian who serves God and others. There is usually a smile on their face and contentment in their speech. These servants don't complain when they go through hard times. In fact, when tests and trials come, a servant of God looks forward to understanding the lessons they will learn through the experience. And, they expect that God will be glorified through it.

Servants of God never stop serving because of circumstances. They keep doing the will of God no matter what. Some people with a servant's heart make it look easy. That's because they know that the end is always better than the beginning, and that God always shows up and turns problems into testimonies.

Jesus suffered and died on the cross so that mankind could live a sin-free life and enjoy the promises of God. But in return, God has also asked something of Christians, using Jesus as His voice. Upon ascension, the Son of God spoke these words: "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (Matt. 28:18-20)

While it is important that new Christians be served, there comes a time when they are mature and must begin to serve God and others. Remember, the word "Christian" is both a noun and a verb. It's the name for those who are in the process of becoming Christ-like. It is also a call to action ... to become a disciple of Christ.

Written by: Jamee Rae