Service: the best gift

Welcome to day 15 of STAND OUT: 7 traits of a counter cultural life.  You can find an index of every post in this series here.

Last night I was teaching from the first eight verses of John 12. It’s the account of Mary of Bethany pouring the perfume on Jesus’ feet.  Verse 3 says,

The house was filled with fragrance of the perfume.

I shared with my class that we find the idea of a pleasing aroma to God woven into Scripture from Genesis through Revelation. One of the important truths I wanted to convey is that our service and sacrifice for the sake of Christ are the fragrance that fills the space both here and in heaven.

STAND OUT: 7 traits of a counter cultural life — service

I love that in John 12, before the mention of Mary and her sacrifice, we find Martha serving {verse 2}. Just like in Luke 10, she was taking action to meet the needs of those around her. But this time, she wasn’t frustrated by what Mary was {or wasn’t} doing.

These two sisters reveal an important truth for all of us as believers: there isn’t a one-size-fits-all method of serving the Lord or serving others.

There isn't a one-size-fits-all method of serving the Lord and others. #StandOut Click To Tweet

When we use the abilities and gifts and talents we have for the glory of God, it’s all service. And it becomes our own sacrifice to and for Him.

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.  Romans 12:1

Whether you serve by cleaning or cooking or teaching or listening, it’s all service for the sake of Christ. It’s worship when we are presenting ourselves, our whole selves, to Him.

Our world doesn’t value service in the context of sacrifice.

The world says, “Look out for #1!”

The Word says, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” {Mark 12:31}

The  world says, “Do it to them before they do it to you.”

The Word says, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. {Luke 6:31}

The world says, “Toot your own horn, no one else is going to do it for you!”

The Word says, “Don’t left your left hand know what your right hand is doing.” {Matthew 6:3}

1 peter 4:10

When we serve from humility and with a desire to please God, our acts of service — big and small — are both gifts to the Lord and blessings to others.

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.  1 Peter 4:10, emphasis added

When we serve from humility, it becomes our gift to God and a blessing to others. #StandOut Click To Tweet

Paul offers us some do’s and don’ts about our attitude for serving others.

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4

Don’t serve to make your name knows — Do serve from humility!

Don’t just think about what works best for you — Do value the best interests of others!

The attitude of humility that results is godly service is ours … we gain it through Christ.

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus. Philippians 2:5, emphasis added

Christ in us enables us to serve others with a sacrificial heart and to fill the rooms of our lives with the fragrance of His sacrifice.  Truly, in light of that, our service is the best gift we can give.


Teri Lynne

How has someone served you sacrificially?

Read the Psalms this summer with Scripture Dig!


  1. Thank you for your service Teri Lynne.
    I worked 34 years in a paid position as an RN in a hospital. I enjoyed it most of the time because it was in the years when you spent more time with the patients & less time with paperwork & electronics. Since retiring & being able to do volunteer work, I have been blessed beyond measure. I love being able to see needs & then be able to do what I can to help people. I love seeing the joy on their faces when you do something that to us is so small. I could get on my soapbox, but I will spare you this time. I will just say that being able to Serve others gives me reason to get up in the morning. I am so thankful!

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