This past Saturday, we had the opportunity to impact Waverly by serving at the Waverly Community Gardens. It was a great day and successful FirstServe! But it’s important to take a moment to explain WHY we, as a church family, choose to serve.
Like many topics in church circles, there is a spectrum of belief about serving:
- At one end is the philosophy that a Christian shouldn’t serve unless the recipients of the service can hear the gospel. This is the stance some evangelical or theologically conservative churches often take.
- At the other end is the worldview that we serve simply to improve the human condition – whether the gospel is ever heard is irrelevant. This belief, nicknamed “the social gospel,” tends to be held by more mainline or liberally theological churches.
Riverwood goes about this differently. As a “Jesus-centered community,” Riverwood seeks to put Jesus at the center of everything we do. We recognize we are not better than the people we serve because we know Jesus, but rather we are fellow humans in need of a Savior who will redeem our broken and imperfect lives and restore them into the complete and perfect image of Jesus.
So if you have truly met this awesome person of Jesus and placed your faith in Him, then you should serve out of a love and joy that comes from knowing that Jesus gave up His life for the forgiveness of your sins. God has blessed you to be a blessing. In other words, the Gospel is our motivation for serving!
So we serve:
- not primarily as a platform to get people to buy into the Gospel that has changed our lives (although we would love for them to know and love Jesus!),
- not as a method to make ourselves feel good,
- and definitely not because we are the privileged ones bestowing benevolence upon the less fortunate.
We serve because Jesus served us. And as followers of Jesus, we want to love like He loved, live like He lived, and leave behind what He left behind. That’s why we serve.