Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Beauty of Serving by @EmilyLaney

me talking about service in girls discipleship 

 “For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.” Luke 22:27

It’s been two weeks since I returned home from an incredible mission trip to South Africa. My husband and I spent a week and a half outside of Durban serving with the organization Hope2Africa ( As with most service trips, it was an amazing experience. We were stretched, humbled and in awe of all God did. We conducted a camp for a cohort of young people from impoverished neighborhoods in the surrounding area. The camp was centered around the arts, but the message was about Jesus. At the end of the week the youth took a program they created and performed it in their community. They’ll continue to take the program they developed during camp and perform it throughout the year. Hope2Africa is a beautiful ministry and God is using it in incredible ways. We were grateful to be a part.

I shared the verse at the beginning of this post during one of the discipleship lessons I taught the girls at camp. Global societies teach that we should put ourselves first, and others last. We should push ourselves to the top, no matter what the cost. But Jesus didn’t do that. He was about the reverse economy of this world. If you want to receive, you give. If you want to lead, you serve. It was in direct contrast to the culture of His day, and it is in direct contrast to our culture today as well.
our Hope2Africa team, both African and American

Our trip to South Africa wasn’t about us serving the youth or about the youth serving us. It was about all of us serving others and serving God together. It was a beautiful thing. It renewed my soul towards service. It reminded me once again of how important it is to notice the needs of other people around me. Because even though I’m using my trip to South Africa as an example of serving, you don’t have to go halfway around the world to serve God and others. We all have neighbors. We all have friends who may be in need. And I imagine we all drive by areas on occasion (or even daily) where people are asking for money or food. Most of us live in areas where there are nonprofits or church based ministries that serve people who are poor or in need. And most of us attend churches with plenty of service opportunities.
The youth praying with their neighbors after their performance

Serving is beautiful because it is what Jesus did. It is beautiful because it is what God commanded of us. But it’s also beautiful because it does something in us when we step outside of our own comfort zone or even outside of our own needs to do something for someone else. It creates in us an opportunity to grow closer to God when we live out what He commanded of us. God has changed me as I’ve served, and I see His plan at work when I follow Him in obedience to do what He modeled for us when He was here on this earth. 

Emily Laney is a social worker, educator, and justice seeker. She has worked with vulnerable populations in the United States and abroad and loves to help startup nonprofits reach their goals.  She is a Passion City Church door holder and leads a team of abolitionists at Not for Sale Georgia. She loves her husband Brent and their rescue pup Biscuit. Sunsets and Sushi make her happy.

You can connect with Emily on twitter @emilylaney or on her blog

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