GOAL Four: SERVE Courageously—In Difficult Times

GOAL Four: SERVE Courageously—In Difficult Times

“whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve …” (Matthew 20:26-28)

Jesus’s last exemplary lesson to the 12 disciples was performed in the few days before his crucifixion.  He disrobed, bowed on his knees and washed their feet. He did the work of a lowly servant to model an example of true love. His service was an expression of his love. Though he gave them the commandment, this lifestyle was a decision each disciple had to make; a decision no longer to live for themselves, but for the glory of their master by serving their neighbor.

To serve courageously is the call to discipleship. It is an intentional decision to humble ourselves, step outside of our comfort zones and do something for others that may receive little to no recognition. We can serve out of fear, for the praise of others or to make ourselves feel good. But serving courageously is a conscientious decision to cast down our fears of failure, surrender our defensiveness and foci of control and step into a creative dimension of innovative service.  Service that may have no personal benefit.

What was it that caused fishermen, tax collectors and everyday people who had just deserted their master and returned to their homes to do what they were comfortable in doing to change and become courageous leaders that impacted the world? They surrendered to the call of service that was motivated by love for God and their neighbor. They may have feared initially, but scriptures give us an insight into this transformation: “perfect love cast out all fear.” (I John 4:18)

We can serve for the praise of others, but service that honors the Name of Christ Jesus is that which is compelled by love. This love empowers and guides us to be strong and courageous. When our service goes beyond our needs and is directed towards the felt needs of others, our stagnation is absolved and our creativity is unbound. We dream boldly because our faith expands beyond our limitations, trusting the power of Christ to live through us. He empowers us with his promises. He gives strength and courage to stretch our natural inclinations mirror his service.

The most recent COVID-19 pandemic and racial tensions have revealed so much of our natural inclinations to serve the self. As a Christ-centered community, I trust we will model what we teach: the value of serving our students, our community and neighbors in the cities and towns that surround our five campuses. We will serve with humility, with a clear understanding that our service is only a reflection of our relationship with Jesus Christ.


Joseph Jones, Ph.D.