Choosing to Thrive in My Circumstances

Part V

Choose to Serve — Don’t Be Self-Serving

For the Son of man also came not to be served but to serve,
and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Good morning Prayer Team!

To serve means to offer service as it is needed, not necessarily in how we want to serve. For instance, many years ago at the Greek Festival, the call went out for volunteers to step forward and “to serve.” People signed up to serve various shifts in various places. There were two areas where no one signed up to serve: wiping off tables and parking cars. Parking cars involved standing out in the hot sun, away from the music and fun of the festival. And wiping tables, well, that just didn’t appeal to anyone.  

If you think about it, there is no way that the festival could be successful without people doing either job. If there was no one to help guide the cars where to park, no one would even get into the festival. And if there was no one to wipe off the tables, then the health inspector would quickly shut down the festival. So, while neither job was seen as glamorous or fun, if no one stepped forward “to serve,” then the festival would have been a total failure. Thankfully, some people did.  

People have ideas about what the “glamor” jobs are in this world. Sanitation engineer and farmer are probably not at the top of the list. Yet without people to collect the garbage or grow the food; there would be no doctors, lawyers, architects, teachers, or people. The world cannot make it without all the positions, be they “glamorous” or “mundane.”  

Many people work only for the paycheck. There is no sense of service. There is no sense of, “I’m here to serve a person or a need,” not just collect a paycheck. In Greek, the word for “work” is doulia. The verb “I work” is doulevo, which literally means, “I serve.” And the word for “servant” is doulos. They all come from the same root. So to work — to do doulia — is to serve as a doulos. Many people go to work in order to collect the paycheck, not to serve. In God’s eye, the purpose of work is to serve. The material reward is to collect a check. However, the spiritual reward is given not based on how much wealth one has collected, but on how well one has served.  

So whatever work you are doing, see it not only as vocation, but as ministry. And focus not only on work, but on service. When you identify the job that you do, whether you say it to others, or just to yourself, substitute the word “serve” for “work” (i.e. I serve as a teacher, or I serve as a secretary). And let that thought of service be your leading thought as you “work.” Because we work not only for a paycheck; we serve in order to glorify God.

Prayer for Using Our Gifts to Serve
Lord, thank You for the many gifts You have given me.
Help me in my work as a (fill in the blank with ALL the roles you play, including as a spouse if you are married) to serve (my spouse, child, client, students, etc.) in a way that is helpful to them,
and in a way that glorifies You.

Serve God by serving others today!

+Fr. Stavros


Fr. Stavros Akrotirianakis

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. The Prayer Team now has its own dedicated website! Fr. Stavros has produced multiple books, you can view here:


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