Jesus keeps us passionate about serving

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Romans 12:10,11

Norman Burger Jr.

He had been away from church and had drifted from God for a number of years. But now he was back, hearing the gospel again, and the first time he mowed the church lawn he shed tears of joy just to do this work for Jesus.


She was hoping to get back home soon after six weeks in the hospital and the rehab center. Her face lit up in a smile when she told me, “Oh, Pastor, I can’t wait to get back to my card writing!” Before her time in the hospital, she sent notes and Bible passages to shut-ins every month. Now she asked me how all the shut-ins were doing.

He was the go-to guy I called when something needed fixing at the parsonage, when someone needed a ride, or when just about anything else came up. “Yes, Pastor!” he would enthusiastically say when I called and identified myself. When I would thank him for his willingness to drop what he was doing and help out, he would just chuckle and say, “Pastor, that’s what I’m here for!”

He was near the end of his life when I visited him. He spoke with cheerful confidence about going to heaven because of his Savior. But when this faithful servant talked about his time of serving here on earth coming to an end, he got choked up. “I just wish I could do more for my church family,” he said.


Why are the stories of these people compelling? Who drops what they are doing to cheerfully put others first? Who thinks that a couple of hours of mowing for God is a precious privilege? The stories are compelling because these are people who know their Savior, Jesus Christ. That’s what makes the difference.

The man who sat on that mower under the hot summer sun found that work deeply fulfilling because he knew Jesus “did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). When your God is so passionate about serving you that he is even willing to die for you, whatever you do to serve him is a privilege.

That woman who, in her own suffering, found joy in encouraging other shut-ins is simply reflecting the heart of her Savior, “who for the joy set before him endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:2) for her.

The man who would drop everything to help others did that for the sake of Jesus, who did not consider leaving heaven; becoming a human; or suffering temptation, pain, and death too great a sacrifice for people who need God’s forgiveness and salvation.

That dying man who just wanted to serve the family of believers had that passion because he knew how precious that family is to Jesus. He knew from experience how committed Jesus is to taking care of his own.

The most compelling story of loving devotion and selfless service is the story of Jesus’ commitment to serve and save you. In the gospel, your God assures you that he will help and comfort you in all your needs. More than that, he will live in you to make your own life a beautiful story of devoted service to others in all their needs.

Norman Burger is pastor at Shepherd of the Hills, Lansing, Michigan.


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Author: Norman Burger Jr.
Volume 102, Number 6
Issue: June 2015

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