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The 10 irrational laws of serving

Getty Images/Martin Harvey
Getty Images/Martin Harvey

“So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example that you also should do just as I have done for you” (John 13:14-15).

Think about the people who have impacted your life the most. Were they individuals who solely focused on their own success, or were they people who selflessly served others? Those who give generously of themselves without seeking attention often leave the most significant impact!

Craig was one of those individuals in my life. He was my high school youth group volunteer who never spoke in front or led meetings, but he was the guy who invested in me and many others behind the scenes. He would show up at my house to lift weights, go for a run with me, and pray with me. He loved, cared, and served me. And no one witnessed him making the investment that impacted my life.

Today, people strive to be in the spotlight and get recognition; however, it's important to remember the power of serving selflessly. Serving others is not a sign of weakness. When we choose to put others before ourselves, we tap into a wellspring of fulfillment. True greatness lies in how we use our gifts and talents to bless the lives of those around us. Jesus set the ultimate example of selflessness. He washed the feet of His disciples, healed the sick, and gave His life for others.

Are you willing to serve others in sacrificial, humbling ways? No complaining and no murmuring? No need for praise, thanks, or encouragement? Do you have a pure desire to experience the joy of simply being a servant of servants? Are you consumed to serve? Is there a consuming fire that burns in you to serve others around you who are hurting? Do you realize the ultimate purpose of serving is to glorify Christ?

Pastor Rick Warren said, “We serve God by serving others. The world defines greatness in terms of power, possessions, prestige, and position. In our self-serving culture with its ‘me first’ mentality, acting like a servant is not a popular concept.” We struggle with the “me first” mentality. We buy into the lie that we are better than others because of our giftedness and accomplishments, especially when it comes to the sports world.

When serving, we need to have intentionality, intensity, and intimacy. Our passion for serving must come from our heart. Samuel Chadwick said it best, “Spirit-filled souls are ablaze for God. They love with a love that glows. They serve with a faith that kindles. They serve with a devotion that consumes. They hate sin with fierceness that burns. They rejoice with a joy that radiates. Love is perfected in the fire of God.”

I love that one of FCA’s values is Serving, along with Integrity, Teamwork, and Excellence. Core values need to be lived out in all relationships — on and off the field of competition. We want to be known as a serving ministry, not just a sports ministry. Sports desperately need coaches and athletes who are willing to become the hands and feet of Jesus. Our desire is for staff and volunteers to wake up every day and simply pray, “Lord, who do you want me to serve today?” This one prayer could transform the world of sports.

Jesus did the unthinkable — He redefined leadership as serving. In John 13, He gave us a clear example and said we should do the same. That is why I have developed 10 Irrational Laws of Serving. These have helped me serve like Christ. They are irrational because we are taught to lead — not serve; to stand up — not kneel down; to grab the microphone — not the towel or water basin. God is calling us to do the unthinkable and be irrational by serving with all our hearts.

1. Serving is love — not duty. Serving should be a natural overflow, not a manufactured effort. Serving is birthed out of desire, not drudgery.

2. Serving is relationships — not projects. Are you more focused on getting something accomplished or blessing someone?

3. Serving is others — not self. Self-denial is the core of serving. You can’t be a servant if you’re full of yourself.

4. Serving is costly — not convenient. Sacrifice is always a key ingredient.

5. Serving is stewardship — not ownership. Do you try to control how you help people? We don’t own the blessing of serving, God does.

6. Serving is private — not public. When we serve, humility should consume us. Serving doesn’t seek recognition.

7. Serving is about the heart — not hands. Serving is an inside job. You can’t serve with a critical and insecure heart.

8. Serving is about God — not man. We need God’s heart. Don’t use God but be used by God for His purposes.

9. Serving is opportunity — not obligation. Joy is a byproduct of serving. It is hard, not easy.

10. Serving is not an option — period! Jesus gave us an example. We must serve.

We need to be radical about serving. Can you imagine if we implemented these 10 laws and got passionate about serving our families, communities, friends, teammates, and co-workers? Why shouldn't that revolution begin with us? Remember: Jesus came to serve the world. It starts with us.

Dan Britton is a speaker, writer, coach and trainer who serves as the Chief Field Officer with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and leads thousands of staff in over 100 countries. Britton played professional lacrosse with the Baltimore Thunder and has coauthored seven books, including: One Word, WisdomWalks, and Called to Greatness. He is a frequent speaker for companies, nonprofits, sports teams, schools and churches.

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