Serve One Another

June 15, 2023

We are privileged this week to learn from Matt Townsley, one of Riverwood's Elders, as we continue in our One Another series.

FREEDOM!  I remember when I turned 16 years old and was finally old enough to drive places on my own. As a teenager, driving solo in a rusted-out 1980s Mercury seemed a lot better than hitching a ride with friends or mom and dad.

And yet, I soon found out that with this new freedom came responsibility: filling up the windshield washer fluid, checking the oil, and keeping tabs on the tire pressure. As we think about the freedom God gives us in Christ, it is important for you (and me) to consider what we should do with this freedom. 

Today, as we continue our One Another series, I want to consider Paul’s letter to the Galatians and what he said about serving one another in light of God’s acceptance. 

For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love, serve one another.

(Galatians 5:13, ESV)

Paul wrote the letter of Galatians to a group of people who were being exposed to false teaching, yet his message is important for us today. Notice how in this verse, there’s something we should avoid and something we should actively do.

Serve One Another • Riverwood Church

First, Paul tells us to avoid using our freedom as an opportunity for the flesh. With the freedom that comes with Jesus forgiving our sins, it can be easy to minimize or even lose track of the consequences of our sin. Like my 16-year-old self, I wanted all of the privileges that come with driving a car, because it fulfilled my transportation (and entertainment) needs. As believers, we are called to avoid the temptation of acting in a way that meets only our needs.

Second, Paul reminds us to actively serve one another through love. Our freedom in Christ is not only the greatest gift we can ever receive, it is also something we should use to benefit others! While we know that Jesus has paid the penalty for our sins, believers recognize that we are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). Our life should seek to model Jesus who came not to be served, but to serve others (Mark 10:45).  As a 16-year-old, I should have viewed the freedom of driving as an opportunity to love on my younger sister by taking her to school or transporting my friends who did not yet have a car. 

How can you practically ‘serve one another’ in the coming week? I encourage you to pick one (or two) ideas from the following list:

  • Offer to drive a friend to the Riverwood Hangout from 6-8pm at the Denver City Park on Tuesday, June 20th.
  • Invite a friend or coworker out for coffee. Offer to pay for their drink and pray that God will open up a door for a spiritual discussion.
  • Sign-up to serve as a greeter, usher, or in the Café on Sundays.
  • Mow the lawn of a shut-in or a family who will be gone on vacation.
  • Take a friend or new neighbor a meal or plate of cookies.
  • Clean the house for someone who just had surgery.
  • Offer to serve once a month in Kids Creek if you aren't already.

FREEDOM! Let’s use it to serve one another this week.

Matt Townsley
Elder - Riverwood Church

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Riverwood Church, Waverly Iowa

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