Through His life-giving words and actions, Jesus taught the
abiding value of service. He often reminded His listeners of the
crucial importance of willing and prompt service of God and
A close examination reveals that the service to which Our
Blessed Lord referred was not just any kind of service. Rather,
what He insisted on was “disinterested,” that is, selfless
service. Hypothetically, one could “serve” the Creator and his
fellow creatures but be so wrapped up in the potential reward he
may receive for his efforts. While this may be a kind of doing
good, it isn’t the same thing that Christ came to earth to show
and exhort us to imitate.
The selfless service rendered by the Redeemer to His Heavenly
Father and to each of us is to become our sole pattern. This
service entrusts to the Lord our own fate. Would that we might
serve the Lord and each member of the human race with the zest,
perseverance, humble confidence in His Beloved Father and utter
selflessness that marked the life of the Messiah!
It is reward enough for us to realize that our disinterested
service is pleasing to God and is His plan for us. This is our
recompense. Yet, we also acknowledge—thanks especially to the
pledges present in the New Testament—that one who really does
serve the Master and His people will not lack for a reward.
Everlasting life with the Almighty, the Blessed Virgin Mary, the
Angels and the Saints in Heaven is promised to those who spend
themselves in authentic service while not counting the cost.
Selfless service is not always easy. We become tired. We may
feel as though we are unprepared to perform the specific task
that God desires of us. We may be inclined to become agitated at
those who don’t cooperate or who even oppose our endeavors. We
may find ourselves burdened servants while our neighbors seem
oblivious to all that remains to be accomplished for the glory
and honor of God and the salvation of souls.
We must, above all when tempted, frequently recall the Good
Shepherd. His loving service excluded all brooding, self-pity,
hopelessness and anger. His was the way of peaceful service. He
knew better than any that some would seek to stop Him, others
would accuse Him of less-than-upright behavior. But His generous
service continued unabated. He didn’t let respect for persons or
fear of their unfair and malicious gossip keep Him from
achieving all that His Father wanted.
Is my service for me? Or is it for the Lord and His sons and
daughters? The Church holds up thousands of canonized Saints who
cheerfully and selflessly served as God directed them as models
of that disinterested service that is rooted in the Holy
Gospels. These witnesses followed the high standard set by the
Son of God and obtained the unsurpassed fruit of their labors:
unceasing joy in the Kingdom of God.
A familiar hymn begins: “Lord, make us true servants to serve
those in need.” To serve selflessly the Risen Lord Jesus is to
serve disinterestedly His—and our—brothers and sisters. Such
Christ-like service is guaranteed the prize of Paradise. It is
ours for the taking.