Service can take many forms. The story of Elisha and the Arameans is an interesting form of service. In this roundabout case, it was the service of peace. Elisha prayed for the blindness of the Arameans. Instead of taking advantage of the enemy’s blindness by killing them, he merely led them away. He then served them a feast and let them go. Normally, we would not consider this an act of service, yet that is exactly what it is. Acts of service may occur in many ways.
Paul lists some of the ways that serving occurs in the church as each person is gifted by the Holy Spirit. This not an exhaustive list. Nor should it be used as a limiting list. In other words, just because you (or someone else) are unable to put an act of service into Paul’s list doesn’t mean it doesn’t fit and isn’t a Holy Spirit blessed act. One could put Paul’s list as a general classification, and be okay, as long as one recognizes that some acts don’t fit neatly into boxes.
It might seem strange to pull this passage of Colossians into this conversation, however, there is a tendency to elevate acts of service, in particular, to something they are not. Acts of service should be an outpouring of our response to God, rather than an act which is supposed to get us something. Acts of service are not rules, but expressions. We express and connect.
1) Have you ever had someone question what you “are doing for the kingdom”? How did that feel?
2) Does what you are doing as an act of service fit into Paul’s list? If not, what “big picture” category would you put it in?
3) Why is important for us to realize that an act of service is an expression of who we are?