Service to the Lord is an essential part of the Christian life, There are times in life when one might feel like they are giving the Lord their very best, and then life changes and one has to re-adjust. My ‘change’ was becoming a parent; not having all the time I wanted to serve the Lord as I did before. In these times, it is important to remember that there are different ways that we will serve the Lord as we go through this journey called life. I remember as a young child and then on into adulthood, wishing to exemplify what I saw in those older than me. It is completely natural to desire good, admirable qualities that you see in others. My dear friend and Christian sister, Erynn Sprouse, recently wrote an article entitled, “A Dozen And One Ways To Be a Barnabas”. She lists simple yet creatively caring ways that you can serve others to the glory of God, and my mind immediately went to some people who have touched my life. Christ being the first and foremost has influenced all generations for the past 2000 years. His purpose upon this earth was focused in on service to others. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). He came for us, to help us, and to guide us back to our God. And now in order to fulfill that which He began, we too must learn to serve.
We can learn much about service simply by digging into the Word. We know these Bible stories that we have studied from childhood and now teach our own children. Opening up all four gospel accounts, we begin to see a picture painted of absolute selflessness. Immediately after His baptism and temptation in the desert, His ministry began: He returned and began teaching in the synagogues (Luke 4:14); proclaiming the truth even upon unwilling ears (Luke 4:23); healing the sick, demon possessed, and lame (Luke 4:31). As one reads through the gospels, we begin to see the unceasing spirit by which Jesus served.
“At daybreak Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. But he said, ‘I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.’ And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea” (Luke 4:42-44).
Looking at your life do you begin to see the different phases you have gone through, and then how they have affected your service to the Lord? Perhaps you are like I was…..young, and willing to give as much time as needed, do anything, or go anywhere in order to work for the Lord. When I was in the AIM (Adventures In Missions) program I learned how to be a servant from the example of Christians around me. They did not know the influence they had on me, but I occasionally go back and reflect on the moments they held in my life. During my AIM time in Quito, Ecuador we were required to submit a weekly schedule that laid-out our daily activities. We divided our time-out evenly: edification, Bible study, evangelism, etc… The coordinator’s supervision and accountability were key to keep all on track, but what really helped me out the most was the guidance and leadership of two very important people: Omar and Tana Palafox, two fellow AIMers in Quito, who took me under their wing and showed me what ‘working for God’ really was all about. I was completely overwhelmed and lost when I first arrived, but the Lord used them to help me, guide me, and mold me. They took me on visit after visit, study after study. Culture shock was very hard on my system. I wanted to crawl away into a corner, but it was Tana’s encouragement that helped me the most. They would only be there for about a third of my mission time, but their initial training was what made my AIM time the most successful accomplishment I have ever had. I learned how to look for those that needed encouragement, how to look for open doors, how to get involved in others’ lives, and I learned to love a people and language outside of my own. Going on home visits, taking members and non-members out for lunch or coffee, spending the day or afternoon with someone who needed encouragement, spending nights at members’ homes, conducting personal Bible studies with the lost, teaching kids Bible classes, teaching teen girls class, organizing and conducting Vacation Bible School, cooking for youth and women conferences, helping with youth Bible Bowl preparation, helping with numerous youth functions, decorating for various events at the church building, advertising around the city for various events and Bible studies, learning the Spanish language, attending Bible classes in Spanish, and then finally helping to training the AIM team that would come join my team; are all ways I served during the 20 months I lived in Quito, Ecuador. The list of things I did while serving in Quito astonishes even me. Was I really there doing all those things? I was….and when I came home I felt like there was not a single aspect of my mission experience that I wanted to change or do differently. It was the first time in my life where I felt completely accomplished, fulfilled. I knew that I wanted to work, so that in the end I would have no regret; and I didn’t. The work ethic that Omar and Tana modeled, and taught to me, was the tool I needed to allow the Lord to work through me. I thank the Lord for putting them into my life.
Omar and Tana Palafox are currently working for the Lord in Leon, Mexico. They are still guiding young AIMers, as they receive a new AIM team every year.
By Alexandria Roach
Alexandria and her husband, Wesley, work with the church in Farwell, TX where Wesley serves as the pulpit minister. Alexandria is a high school Spanish teacher who loves to run and care for her three young children.