Practicing Service

Read: Philippians 2:1-11

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus. (v. 5)

Let’s be honest: sometimes it’s hard to be thankful because we are self-absorbed. It’s easy to think that your problems are more urgent and serious than other people’s. Serving others is a practical way to become more thankful and less selfish.

Service requires us to stop thinking about ourselves and to concentrate on the needs of others, which can put our own problems into perspective and make us grateful for the blessings that we do have. Also, service is often reciprocal. A community where everyone works to meet the needs of others is a community where your personal needs are also met.

But Christians recognize that service has a deeper purpose. In the glorious hymn to Christ in Philippians 2, Paul exhorts the Philippians to be of the same mind as Christ Jesus, “who . . . did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant” (vv. 6-7). When you engage in loving, sacrificial service, you imitate Jesus. The unity that you can experience with Christ through service is a precious gift. It is an opportunity to express, both to God and to the world, what his love means to you.

If you find it difficult this year to be thankful, take time off from thinking about yourself. Instead, think of one way to serve those around you. Use it as an act of thanksgiving and praise.

As you pray, thank God that he came to serve you, and ask him to show you how to serve others.

About the Author

Jane Olson is a college counselor and high school teacher. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and children.

This entry is part 5 of 15 in the series Habits of a Thankful Heart