Looking for Bible verses about serving others? Certainly the best example of someone serving others was Jesus Christ Himself. He told us He came to serve, not to be served (Luke 22:24-27), and He lived this out by healing many, teaching spiritual truth, and, ultimately, by dying on the cross for our sins.
One time, in particular, Jesus was on His way to spend some time in solitude and prayer, because He had just heard about John the Baptist’s death and was presumably grieving. However, as He left for that place of solitude, crowds followed Him. The Bible says He had compassion on them, so He stayed and ministered to them. This leads to the famous story of the Feeding of the 5,000.
We can remember that story when we feel emotionally spent but people depend on our service. The same God who fed the 5,000 with five loaves of bread and two fish will supernaturally assist you as you serve others. – But don’t forget that Jesus later left the scene to finally spend time in solitude and prayer. We need that, too!
What Does the Bible Say About Serving Others?
We see in Scripture that serving others was a way of life for Jesus. He used the miracle of healing to attract people to His ministry and open their hearts and eyes to the gospel which He preached. In the church, we may debate what’s more important: preaching the truth or serving others. For Jesus, these went hand in hand.
He lived out a perfect example of what the apostle James later tells us. He says that true religion is found in acts of services like helping the needy (James 1:27). Our faith should show in our actions – the two cannot be separated. Serving others is a mark of the Christian life.
Our love and service to one another and the community around us should set Christians apart from the world. We see this all through the New Testament with a number of “one another” commands. We are to love, forgive, and – yes – serve one another.
The Importance of Serving Others
Jesus didn’t follow the logic of the world. “An eye for an eye” made sense to everyone, but Jesus calls people to love even their enemies (Matthew 5:44). Being the greatest seems to be a worthy goal to the world but Jesus says that whoever wants to become great must be a servant to all (Matthew 20:26).
Jesus modeled this not only among the crowds but also among His disciples. On the night of His arrest, to show the importance of serving others, Jesus knelt in front of each of His disciples and washed their dirty feet. This was a humbling act.
You may have seen this act of washing feet done ceremonially in the church as an example of humble service. However, practically speaking, this may look like caring for an elderly or sick person who needs help going to the bathroom or cleaning up after someone who got sick. Gross? Well, washing those feet included a lot of germs, too.
Jesus showed us how to serve others in love and humility, how to regard others as more important than even His own life. And we are so thankful He did! Let’s imitate His example.
Examples of Christian Service in the Bible
As Jesus had led by example, the disciples continued to serve others and teach the early church to do the same. We read that people met daily for fellowship and gave whatever they could to benefit the community. The disciples, now the apostles, started to spread the good news of Jesus. They taught the early church many things about how Christians should live, including serving one another.
Paul, for example, encouraged believers to use their various gifts to serve the church (1 Corinthians 12:4-11). He himself continued to endure many hardships to spread the good news of Jesus.
Even when he was imprisoned and under house arrest (Acts 16 and 28), he continued to minister and serve as He was able. The letter of Philemon is an example of an act of service that Paul was able to accomplish from the confines of his house arrest. Even then, he was committed to spreading truth and love. He may not have been able to go with Philemon, the slave who escaped, but he was able to write a letter to his former slave owner and implore him to forgive Philemon.
24 Bible Verses about Serving Others
Let’s take a look at a number of verses that teach us about serving others. We will first observe Jesus’ example and then consider how believers can serve others.
“Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
Serving others was actually Jesus’ mission here on earth. He served many by meeting their physical and spiritual needs… and He took our place on the cross as He died for our sins. The ultimate act of service!
“So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.”
Jesus not only demonstrated a servant attitude towards the crowds who asked for healing and teaching, He taught the disciples how to lead with a servant attitude. He humbled himself, knelt before them, and washed their feet.
“But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.”
In all this, Jesus was teaching the disciples an important lesson: If you want to be regarded as great in the kingdom, you have to serve others. That’s what it means to truly be a great Christian example.
” And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.”
The disciples needed a little help with this lesson because they still wondered who may be the first… would it be the one who was closest to Jesus, spread the gospel the fastest, was the most beloved? Jesus reminds them that a true leader is a servant to others.
“And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
So let’s summarize what we learn from Jesus: To truly be Christ-like, we need to become a servant just as Jesus was a servant and gave His life for us.
“As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”
What, then, does serving one another look like in the local church? Christian, God has given you a gift. You are to use this gift not to build yourself up but to serve others. We all need that reminder sometimes.
“I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
In the early church, we see a lot of examples of people giving up their possessions as an act of service. Serving others is usually associated with giving of our time, but we can also serve others by giving our possessions and finances.
“ For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.“
Christ set us free and wants us to live freely. However, that shouldn’t mean we do whatever we want and don’t care about others. Just the opposite: How can we use our freedom to better love those around us?
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
Jesus freed us – and even created us – to do good works such as serving others. God wants to use you to bless others, so be open to being used by God!
“The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself.”
Even the Old Testament proverbs encouraged us to be a blessing to others. Thinking of others as important and caring for their needs is not only a New Testament concept.
“But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.”
Sometimes giving up our time and resources can be quite a sacrifice. Be encouraged to know that God is very pleased when we make sacrifices to serve others.
“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”
Serving others can also cost us emotionally – it can be draining. Remember the example of Jesus serving the 5,000 at the beginning of this article. God can continue to give you the energy you need to serve others (as you continue to draw close to Him), so don’t become weary of serving.
“For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.”
We have this promise that God sees our service and the work we do for others.
“Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.”
Let’s begin to look at a few examples of the “one anothers”. These are all examples of how we can serve others. The first is an encouragement to care for those who are burdened.
“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.”
Jesus used the phrase “one another” as well when He told us to love one another as He did. We know by looking at His life that service to others was a part of how Jesus showed love.
“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
To honor the sacrifice Jesus made for us, let’s live as He did: Humbling ourselves, being gentle and patient towards one another, caring for one another when we see someone who is walking through a tough time, always striving to maintain unity. When you’re part of a service team at church, you’ll quickly be challenged by the verses: be patient, gentle, teachable… and care more about the people than the event.
“Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.”
What would it look like if instead of skirting responsibilities or spreading gossip (called venting), we tried to outdo one another in showing honor and affection. Those are service teams anyone wants to join!
“Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
It can be humbling to serve… it may include submitting to leadership, being teachable, and completing tasks that seem “beneath you” but help others.
“If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.”
Remember once again: If Jesus could humble Himself to serve others, we should do the same.
“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”
Another way to serve others is by being an encouragement and looking for ways to build others up.
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
Even going to church can be an act of service when we go with the hope of being an encouragement to others and showing love to those we meet on Sunday morning.
“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”
Sometimes humbly serving one another means we have to confess our sins or listen to another confess theirs. This should be met in prayer and hope for reconciliation and healing from this sin pattern. In this way, we serve one another by bringing each other back to following Jesus faithfully.
“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”
James taught about serving others very directly. He made it clear that we cannot call ourselves followers of Jesus and not be willing to serve those in need. The two go hand in hand.
“What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 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’s message was this: Faith without works is dead. You cannot pretend to love others but ignore their needs. Instead, serve others sacrificially and meet their physical and spiritual needs through service.
Scriptures About Serving Others
Let’s take a look at a couple of longer passages about serving others.
“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?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[a] you did it to me.”
When we serve others, we actually serve Jesus Himself. This is another example of how God’s logic is beyond human logic. He tell us that when we do any of the following, we are serving Him:
- Give food or clothes to the needy.
- Welcome a stranger.
- Visit the sick or imprisoned.
“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. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore, God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
If the church works together, ready to serve one another and use our gifts for the good of others, think of what we can do! Certainly, we imitate Christ who was the best example of a servant to others. He gave up everything He had to come to earth, serve, and lay down His life for us. If we want to spread the gospel of Jesus, we have to humbly serve others.
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