Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis is the Proistamenos of St. John Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, FL. Fr. contributes the Prayer Team Ministry, a daily reflection, which began in February 2015, has produced two books, “Let All Creation Rejoice: Reflections on Advent, the Nativity and Epiphany” and “The Road Back to Christ: Reflections on Lent, Holy Week and the Resurrection.”
THE GREAT COMMANDMENTS: WHERE DO YOU STAND?
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself. Luke 10:27
Rather let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. Luke 22:27
Good morning Prayer Team!
To serve means to help in whatever way help is needed. For instance, a man shows up to “volunteer to serve” at a community event. He says he will help wherever it is needed. When he is told that help is needed cleaning bathrooms, the man says that that job is not for him. Then he is asked to clean off tables and again he says that is not for him. Then parking cars. No. Working in the kitchen. No. Taking tickets at the door. No. The man finally says he wants to work the cash register and that’s really all he wants to do. He didn’t “volunteer to serve”. He volunteered to work the cash register. Because to truly serve means to do whatever is needed.
Jesus showed us an example of service when He washed the feet of the disciples at the Last Supper. Even though He is the Lord, He didn’t think it beneath Him to get on His knees and to wash the feet of His followers. This is an act of service. Because service, in its most pure form, is selfless.
To serve means to do something without expectation of recognition. If there is an expectation of reward, then a person is really “exchanging” something for recognition, rather than “serving.”
We can probably all do a better job of serving both God and our neighbor. We are almost conditioned to approach work with a “what’s in it for me” approach. Jesus tells us in today’s verse that the greatest should become as the least and the leader should be the one who serves.
We think many times that what a person has accumulated is his mark of success. In the eyes of society, that is probably true. But in the eyes of God, it is the amount that someone has DIVESTED of themselves that is pleasing to God. It is the amount of serving in anonymity that pleases God more than the amount of awards one has accumulated.
Service—On a scale of 1 to 10, how do you rank yourself on the following questions: Do I serve expecting recognition? Am I willing to do anything in order to serve, or do I “serve” in the way that I wish to “serve” most of the time? Do I take personal joy from serving or is my joy tied to the praises of others for my service? When someone compliments me, do I think of my abilities, or do I give credit to God for giving me the abilities I have?
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Write down some ways that you can better serve both God and your fellow man. When someone compliments you, try saying both “thank you” and “thank God,” acknowledging that our gifts and talents come from God. Find something you can do (serving at a homeless shelter, visiting the sick, volunteer work) for which you will get no money or recognition.
Lord, thank You for the example You gave us in what it means to serve others. Help me to serve others as You would have me serve them, expecting nothing in return. Give me the humility to help where help is needed and not to insist on the help I will provide. Help me encourage others to serve as well. Help me to see You in the faces of anyone I am called to serve. Amen.
Serve others today, expecting nothing in return.
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