When I became a Christian, the last thing on my mind was serving others. I was a broken person. A sinner in desperate need of a savior. Healing, forgiveness, hope, and peace were the main things I searched out. It caught me by surprise that most of those things come when we serve.
The Bible is filled with scripture that stresses the importance of serving others These 34 Bible verses about serving others will help you understand just how important serving is for Christians in order to emulate Jesus in everyday life.
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What Does the Bible Say About Serving Others
What does the Bible say about serving others? Serving others is the call of every Christian. It flows out of a spirit of love and thanksgiving for all Christ has done in our lives.
We are called to “serve with good will” because it is through this service that we can bring about change in our communities and beyond.
“For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:13-14 ESV (emphasis mine)
To me, that sounds too much like a church answer. So as we examine these Bible verses about serving others let's look deeper to find the heart behind God's desire for our lives.
What Does it Mean to Serve Others?
Simply stated, serving others means performing duties or services for another person or organization. Serving others could also be providing for their needs. But serving others is more than just the physical activity that you do for another person.
“But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:42-45 ESV
Serving others means putting their needs ahead of your own. Serving others is a calling that all Christians have in order to truly emulate the life of Jesus. To approach each day with a servant's heart – to focus on others and not ourselves. Jesus called us, not only to serve others but actually, to be servant leaders. A servant leader is someone who puts the interests of others before their own.
Related Post: When You Abide in God a Servant Heart Grows
Bible Characters Who Served Others
The Bible is full of examples of people who lived their lives serving others. Jesus, for example, gave his life to serve us and the Bible tells the story of how he served others in a variety of ways: feeding hungry people, healing sick people, and even raising from death those who were lost. The Apostle Paul also encouraged Christians to live their lives by serving one another as an act that reflects Christ's love for all humanity. Some additional Bible stories about serving others include:
- Noah built the ark and shared God's message. (Genesis 6-9)
- Joseph saved Israel from starving in the drought. (Genesis 47:13-27)
- Rahab helped the spies. (Joshua 2)
- Boaz redeemed Ruth. (Ruth 4)
- David played the harp to soothe Saul. (1 Samuel 16:14-23)
- Abigail fed David's men to save her husband. (1 Samuel 25)
These are just a few Bible characters who served God in the Old Testament. We see common themes in their Bible stories of servant leadership, humility, hope, and joy. They served at great cost to themselves but God blessed them abundantly in the end.
Why Does God Call Us to Serve Others
We saw in Mark 10, that Jesus called each of us to serve, to become servant leaders. Why does God call us to serve others? What would compel us to sacrifice our time, getting up much earlier on Sunday morning, to help in church for example? These are just a few of the benefits of serving that drive us to obey God.
- Serving others imitates Jesus' love. (Mark 10:42-45 )
- Service to others is a witness. (Matthew 5:16)
- Serving others grows our faith. (James 2:14-17)
- Service to others brings us closer to God with honor. (John 12:26)
- Serving others makes the body of Christ work well. (1 Corinthians 12:12-27)
Serving others is an act of sacrifice (our time) that more aligns us with the Father.
Serving Others Imitates Jesus
One of the first things we see Jesus consistently saying is to follow Him, to imitate Him. Jesus served others. Honestly, Jesus served God first, always doing the will of the Father. We see through Jesus' example that serving God is serving others. We know we are to serve God so this is the logical next step.
“Even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28 ESV
Another truth to know, as we imitate Jesus' example of serving others, is that He did the dirty work. No task was too small or beneath his dignity. Serving others may mean doing some things we don't really love, but they may just need to be done!
“If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet.” John 13:12-14 ESV
“And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.”” Mark 9:35 ESV
Jesus didn't serve others to be seen or gain fame. He served because He loved others and Jesus set a counter-cultural example of servant leadership. In the Kingdom of God, the least will be the greatest. So serving in the lowly places on earth somehow helps us gain status in Heaven.
Bible Verses About Serving Others
There is definitely not a shortage of scripture about serving others in the Bible. So much of the teachings of Jesus focused on serving and servant leadership. If we truly want to grow stronger in our faith and, more importantly, grow closer to God, then we must embrace the idea of service to others – especially when it is inconvenient to us.
Serving Others With Humility and Endurance
We saw from the life of Jesus, that serving others is about humility. The Apostle Paul explained it so well here by saying Christians are called to be more concerned with the interests of others. Humility serves others where they need to be served rather than where we prefer to serve.
“Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:4 ESV
“We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves.” Romans 15:1 ESV
In humility, as we serve others we need to be mindful of those who are new to the faith or struggling. To serve them we are called to bear with them, to love them rather than judge them.
“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9 ESV
Endurance is also a key piece of understanding these Bible verses about serving others. Serving others can be exhausting and draining. To not grow weary we need to plan in times of rest and ways to take breaks from serving. This helps us continue serving with love and grace. And church leaders, if they want to keep their leaders fresh and serving will find ways to make this happen.
Bible Verses About Serving Others with Love and Truth
Over and over in Scripture, we are told to love others. How can we serve one another with love? Ask God to help you love others as He loves you. That means giving grace when they mess up, including the least of these, and stepping outside your comfort zone. Nothing about God's love is comfortable!
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” John 15:2 ESV
“For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:13-14 ESV
Earlier I shared that when I came to Christ I was a mess. I needed help and healing. God gave those things as well as freedom. Here, the Apostle Paul is cautioning us to not use that freedom as an excuse to sin. Rather, we are called to serve others. We love them when we serve them. Serving others helps keep us from sinking into selfishness, self-righteousness, and legalism.
“Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” 1 John 3:18 ESV
Again we see the command to serve others in love but a caveat of truth is added. What good are the words, “I love you,” without actions? Talk is cheap. Service should involve a lot of action and few words.
Bible Verses About Serving Others with Joy
Joy comes from many things. When we serve others is prompts memories of how God loved us and sent others to serve us. Remembering God's faithfulness brings joy! We serve one another with joy when we slow down and remember.
“Only fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you.” 1 Samuel 12:24 ESV
“So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.” Philippians 2:1-11 ESV
We also experience joy when we bring joy to God's heart. This passage tells us it brings Him joy when we have unity and when we serve others with love and encouragement. I don't know about you, but I want to bring God joy whenever I can!
“Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” Hebrews 13:16 ESV
Along the same lines is that when we please God it brings Him joy. Doing good, serving others by sharing what we have pleases God. So serving others brings joy in this way!
Related: 23 Uplifting Bible Verses About Joy
Scripture About Serving Others As Good Stewards
God gives each of us gifts at the time of salvation. Those gifts help us in many ways, but they are not meant for us alone. God gives us gifts to help others and build up the body of Christ. Serving others is a way to use God's gifts well.
“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace:” 1 Peter 4:10 ESV
“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 ESV
Serving others shines God's light and love on the lost world. What better way to steward well the gifts of God? When we serve others, the lost world takes notice and asks questions. Serving can be a great way to open the door to share the Gospel.
“But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him?” 1 John 3:17 ESV
The Apostle John asks a good question here. If every good thing we have comes from God, how can we not share it when others have a need? We are just stewards of God's gifts, they are not our own. It would help us to remember that and share when others need help.
Related Post: 32 Important Bible Verses About Helping Others
Bible Verses About Serving Others Through Giving
God calls us to give freely of what He has given us. What I love about this passage is the added blessing it implies in giving. When you give to others and see how it helps them it fills you with joy. Giving is a blessing.
“In all things, I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” Acts 20:35 ESV
“Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:38 ESV
Another promise is that when you give, God gives. Now to be clear this doesn't mean that if you give you will always have wealth. No, God is not concerned with our financial prosperity (or else Jesus' life would have been high status and financial wealth). God is concerned with our hearts and soul. When we give, God provides joy and peace. He also often provides for our needs and sometimes our wants. It's beautiful to watch the generosity of God at work when His people give.
“If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” James 2:14-17 ESV
The importance of serving others according to the Bible is to show God's love. It will do little good to tell people the Good News if they are starving or homeless. You first must meet their physical needs, then speak into their Spiritual needs. Jesus followed this example in His ministry on earth and so should we.
Related Posts: 50 Bible Verses About Accepting Others
Bible Verses About Serving The Least of These
One way we serve others is through giving. God gives us many words of caution here, that giving to friends and equals is not His main purpose. We serve God by serving others, specifically the least of these or the outcasts.
“For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’” Deuteronomy 15:11 ESV
The least of these need us; the poor, the orphan, the widow, the brokenhearted. They are all people created in God's image who He loves and wants us to serve.
“Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.” Proverbs 19:17 ESV
Again the principle is repeated that we serve God by serving others. I can't explain how or why that works, but I believe that every single word in Scripture is true. If the Bible is true, that includes things that are confusing. Giving to the poor, spending time with the widow, serving at church all serve God.
“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’” Matthew 25:35-40 ESV
Jesus repeats this principle by teaching His disciples to give to the poor and needy. Helping those in prison, reaching out to the homeless, loving the outcast all serve God. God loves the whole world and calls us to step out of our comfort zone to love those that make us feel uncomfortable.
Serve One Another in Love Today
How are you serving others? Are you serving at church? Are you serving others in your everyday life?
At church, there are so many ways to serve- from greeting visitors to working in the kid's ministry area (and more). If you aren't sure where the best place is for you, just ask someone on the church staff. Let them know any talents you may have that might be useful.
It is also important to note that serving isn't supposed to be selfish. What I mean by that is that you shouldn't seek out the “perfect” way to serve and discount other opportunities simply because they “aren't your thing.” To serve like Jesus means to serve where there is a need – not so much where you “feel” like doing so.
Now, I'm not saying you should serve in an area where you are miserable or that would cause problems. For example, if you aren't a “kid” person, serving in the kid's ministry probably isn't the best option because kids do need someone who can relate to them so they can truly learn.
What I am saying is that don't go through the list of serving options with an “I don't do that. Nope, not that one either. That's not really my thing” mentality.
Always remember why serving others is so important:
- Serving others is a calling every Christian has.
- Servant leadership imitates Jesus.
- The countless Bible stories about serving others can inspire our own service.
- Service requires humility and endurance.
- We must serve with love and truth.
- Serving others brings joy to us and God.
- Service is a way to be good stewards of God's gifts.
- We serve through giving our time, talents, and treasures.
- Serving the least of these is most important.
Serving others is not a one-time event, but rather an attitude that should be replicated. When we serve with humility and without expectation of reward, we are living out the life of Jesus. This week consider ways you can serve outside your church walls to make this world a better place for all to live in peace. Who will you help today?
in HIS love,