Service to Others
If anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work. 2 Timothy 2:21
Alcoholics Anonymous teaches that we must be of service to others, even early in recovery. We’re not yet ready to be a sponsor when we’re only a week or two sober, but we can certainly set up chairs for a meeting. As we grow in our recovery, we graduate to more responsibility. Being of service isn’t optional in AA. It’s essential. If we want to change our lives, we must be of service. Unfortunately, many of us seeking recovery remain unwilling to serve, as even sober, we’re still terribly self-centered.
Those who are willing to be of service though, often make one of two mistakes. The first mistake is one of inadequacy. I can’t help. I’m a mess. I’ll get involved someday when I put my life back together. They’re always stuck in not good enough. The second mistake is the opposite – one of grandiosity. If I’m going to serve, I’m going big. I want to run the meeting. Setting up chairs is too small for them. Sure, maybe they’ve only been sober for a week, but if they’re going to be involved, they need to be a big deal.
In today’s passage, Paul spoke of our service as Christians. Using the metaphor of a great house and its owner, he explained that in the house some vessels will be used for big jobs and some for small jobs. God is the owner of the house, and we are the vessels. Paul went on to explain that as we grow, abandoning the old life, we will be used more by God for greater works. As followers of Christ, service isn’t optional – it’s essential. We don’t start out by being a pastor though. We start small and as we grow in our faith, God will use us for greater things.
We make the same mistakes those in AA do though. Some of us simply aren’t interested in serving. If we find ourselves here, we must at least ask if our faith is real. Service isn’t optional for the Christian. Others of us will feel like we’re always inadequate. We can always do something, even if it’s what we’d consider an insignificant job. Still others of us will expect too much, demanding to be in charge on day one. Service to God and to others however, is about humility, not about self-promotion. Daily, if we truly follow Christ, we must abandon the old life, loving and serving those whom God puts in our path.