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Christian Service

October 17, 2020

Living with purpose

David Livingstone loved the people of Africa. After 16 difficult years as a missionary he returned to his native Scotland to speak to the students at Glasgow University. His body was emaciated by the ravages of some 27 fevers that had coursed through his veins during the years of his service. One arm hung useless at his side, the result of being mangled by a lion. He certainly had Africa engraved in his very flesh. Nobody could doubt his love for that land, because it was expressed in more than words.

He went back to Africa, and when he died, natives removed his heart and embalmed the rest of his corpse. They carried the body to Bagamoyo and shipped it to England, where it was interred in Westminster Abbey. But his heart remained in Africa—literally. His devoted followers buried it within the roots of an old African tree, and on the bark of the tree a native carved neatly, “Dr. Livingstone, May 4, 1873.”

—Adapted from Henry Feyerabend, “David Livingstone’s Heart,” Slices of Life (Oshawa, Ont.: It Is Written, 1995), pp. 141, 142.




Memory Text: “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35, NKJV).

Our Beliefs, no. 17, Spiritual Gifts and Ministries: “God bestows upon all members of His church in every age spiritual gifts that each member is to employ in loving ministry for the common good of the church and of humanity.”

Ellen G. White, Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, pp. 82, 83




Read 1 Corinthians 13.

Mandy rededicated her life to Jesus last weekend and asked God to help her see the needs of others so she could help. The first person she thought of was Tanya, who had been on the receiving end of some unkind words from Mandy. There was obviously a wedge between the two, and they tried to avoid each other. This is a problem now that Mandy has a new commitment to God.

What do you think Mandy should do or say? Should she confront Tanya and make things right with her, or wait and do something else, giving herself time to get ready for an appointment with Tanya later? What do you think Jesus would say to her?




Read Romans 12:5-8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-6, 27-31, 1 Peter 4:10, 11.

God calls individuals who are willing to prepare others for service, to build up the church, and to spread the knowledge of God to all humanity. To each of us He has given “talents,” or “spiritual gifts.” These gifts help us to fulfill our calling. When we faithfully use the gifts God has given us, we become more like Him, and we will share His gifts with others so that the church will grow in faith and love.

“The little attentions, the small acts of love and self-sacrifice, that flow out from the life as quietly as the fragrance from a flower—these constitute no small share of the blessings and happiness of life” (Ellen G. White, Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 82).

Spiritual Gifts
Use the words in the list below and fill in the blank spaces in the Bible passages. All the Bible texts are from the New King James Version of the Bible.

activities another apostles cheeerfulness differing diligence excellent gifts good grace healings liberality miracles prophets speak Spirit stewards teachers use works

1. “So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts according to the grace that is given to us, let us them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with; he who leads, with; he who shows mercy, with” (Romans 12:5-8).
2. “There are diversities of, but the same . There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of, but it is the same God who all in all” (1 Corinthians 12:4-6).
3. “Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. And God has appointed these in the church: first, second, third, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of? Do all have gifts of? Do all with tongues? Do all interpret? But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more way” (1 Corinthians 12:27-31).
4. “As each one has received a gift, minister it to one, as of the manifold of God” (1 Peter 4:10, 11).




Read James 2:15-17.

The exercise of service is nonnegotiable for those who take the name of Christ. Jesus called us to follow His example of self-sacrificial service (Luke 9:23; John 12:26). The Bible mentions this frequently. Whether we do good deeds or ignore the needs of others, our actions will speak louder than anything we might say.

What does it mean to love others and serve them self-forgetfully? How is serving others significant to our Christian life?

Following Jesus means having different priorities than those of the world. Instead of pursuing our personal interests, we are allowing Jesus to work in us and enable us to serve others. How are you allowing Jesus’ love to flow through your actions as you employ the gifts that He has given you to serve others?




Match the text with the phrase. You will probably need to read the entire text to find the answer. Most phrases are not taken from the beginning of the text. All of the texts are from the New International Version of the Bible. Go to

Matthew 7:9-12 1. “ So in everything, do to others what you would have them to do you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”
Matthew 23:11, 12 2. “A generous person will prosper . . . “
Matthew 20:25-28 3. “ For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
1 Peter 4:7-11 4. “ I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”
Proverbs 11:25 5. “ Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave.”
Matthew 25:31-36 6. “If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.”




Review the memory text.

“Those who have sought for the development and perfection of Christian character by exercising their faculties in good works will, in the world to come, reap that which they have sown. The work begun upon earth will reach its consummation in that higher and holier life to endure throughout eternity” (Ellen G. White, Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 83).

Your call to serve others is a gift from God to you. A gift? Every time we put others first and spend ourselves to help or serve someone else, it reminds us of the way God reaches out to us. The work of service is one of God’s great activities for shrinking our sinful nature and growing our kingdom qualities.

Learning to think of others is a journey. It is born from your love for God and your desire to help others. Little by little, as you practice service, it changes you.

What makes service an act of love? How does Jesus’ self-sacrificial life of love for our world help us to have the right motives when we serve others?




Think about some practical ways you can help and serve others around you. Use the questions below to guide you in writing a journal entry about your plan for service.

1. What needs can you meet?

2. How can you use the gifts and talents God has given you to help encourage and serve someone?

3. List practical things you can do to help someone.

4. What did you decide to do, and how will you put your plan into practice?