As anyone who has served in this capacity will tell you, the most frequent question is, why? Why go halfway around the world to serve in a Muslim country like Jordan? Why help people you've never met? Why can't you stay home to serve? Questions like these required us to consider the bigger picture of God's plan and the purpose of service.
Developing God's Character
We are told that "as we have opportunity" we are to "do good to all," that it should be our habit to serve for people's good, regardless of who they are (Galatians 6:10). As we serve others—even those who we wouldn't normally think to help—we are emulating God and developing His character.
We typically think of the Bible as the record of God working with His people down through time, beginning with faithful Abraham and his descendants, physical Israel, then with the converted and faithful individuals of spiritual Israel. But if we look closely, we also see that through every age God has extended His mercy toward many others.
We may be familiar with Moses, David or Paul, but do we recall those personally touched by God that the Bible clearly states were not a part of physical or spiritual Israel? There are stories like that of Naaman the Syrian, who was healed of leprosy (2 Kings 5); the Roman centurion, whose servant Christ healed (Matthew 8); all the crew, prisoners and soldiers who were miraculously saved from drowning (Acts 27); and the thousands of inhabitants of Nineveh who were saved by God through Jonah's warning of impending doom (Jonah 3). These are only some examples of God's mercy toward all mankind.
Advertisements for Christianity
We must be diligent in serving, especially with those outside our faith or culture, because we can't predict the effect of our service and example. Peter said this about our Christian example: "Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation" (1 Peter 2:11-12).
Concerning this verse, William Barclay said in his New Daily Study Bible: "Whether we like it or not, all Christians are an advertisement for Christianity; by their lives, they either commend it to others or make them think less of it" (p. 233). We realize that we can't convert others through our example—only God can do that—however, we can prove to them by experience what the true spirit of Christian service is, even though we may not see the results until after Christ's return.
Preparing for Our Future
We are told that our future is to "be priests of God and of Christ, and...reign with Him" (Revelation 20:6). At that time, our service will be assisting in what Isaiah foretold: "Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established…and all nations shall flow to it. Many people shall come and say, 'Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths'" (Isaiah 2:2-3).
Beginning at the return of Christ, we will be ruling, teaching and serving all nations of the whole earth. The people we serve at that time may not be like us. They may come from foreign cultures, have experienced unimaginable things and have little understanding of God. However, they will need His love and His way of life just as much as we do, which is where our service comes in.
Serving in this life better prepares us to be Christlike servants in the future. What better way to prepare for serving all mankind in the future than to serve all mankind now? UN
Read more about the United Youth Corps volunteers' experience in Jordan by visiting their blog at www.uycjordan10.blogspot.com.