Self and Serving

My friend Curt (sorry no blog yet) pointed this out to me.

When we consider service, then, not as a job, but as a lifestyle in
affirmation of the human being’s personality and thus response-ability
and of the Biblical framework of a fallen world that groans until the
coming of Christ, service represents our understanding of the human
condition and a willingness to war against it. When we are called to
serve the Lord, it is not due to His having a need, but it expresses
our willingness to battle side by side with Him for a removal of the
practical and intellectual consequences of the fall. To be a servant
is to express solidarity with the human condition; it is a matter of
respect and courtesy. It expresses a desired relationship, as Mary
was the handmaid of the Lord. It expresses a deep appreciation of man
and a willingness to take a place in the battle to overcome that need.

A need can be in different areas. There is the need for life and its
sustenance, but also a need for space, time, and human communication.
There is the need to be encouraged to keep on, to be taught to
overcome ignorance or poor coordination. To serve is to choose to do a
job well, to protect the weaker person, the one in need; it is to
charge a fair price, to not stretch the truth. It is to be a critical
challenge in a context of respect for the artist. It is to care for
the body and soul as a medical person; it is the willingness to be
made insecure by someone’s questions and doubt. To serve is to create
that protective umbrella that allows someone else to stand dry from
the attacks of a hostile world after the fall.

To serve is to be a human being as God made us, in the relationships
He intended us to have. It is to be a parent for a child, a lover to
a man or woman, an artist to work against the bleakness of mere
indifference, an employer for the needs of the employed, a caring
person for the neighbor in need, a family for the single person, a
person in politics for the maintenance of order and compassion.

Service is also an expression of outrage at the injustice and
unfairness of a fallen world, in which often without fault of the
people concerned, inequalities exist and pain, depression and real
prolems are placed on each of us by the choices of others. Service
here is the statement that we care and consider ourselves first of all
in solidarity with man against the unfairness of an impersonal and
uncaring universe, history, and state. It is here where humanness and
willingness to give stand in opposition to resignation, indifference
and irresponsibility. As we all have more or less than we deserve on
the basis of our choice, we are to serve each other against all that
is arbitrary, accidental, historically conditioned. To serve is to
make a judgement for man against a common enemy, which is nature. It
is here where we find the challenge extended from the God of the Bible
who was willing to serve us in His Son for us a hope of life through
His own willingness to do the will of the father by making
propitiation for our sins and going on to that time when he shall
return to remove all the abnormality of a broken world, all injustice,
sickness, all groaning of the whole creation. ( Romans 8 ) Service is,
then, the recognition of the need that we all face to stand up to the
impersonal nature, history and statistics and to speak in our lives
for morality, justice and beauty in correspondence to the God of
creation and redemption.

— Udo Middelmann “Self and Serving”






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