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Serving in the Spirit of Christ How the helping professions align with the example of the Lord Jesus


othing exalts the soul or gives it a sheer sense of buoyancy and victory so much as being used to change the lives of other people.” Though E. Stanley Jones’ words echo from more than a half-century ago, they manage somehow to offer a snapshot of a fast-rising ethic among today’s evangelicals. Open doors and desperate needs have catalyzed compassion from many previously dormant corners of the Western church, in many ways reshaping the perception of modern faith. And perhaps it’s about time. As outsiders query, “What good is your religion if you’re not helping the poor?”, it seems more and more Christians are emerging with a passion to demonstrate their faith through needed action. A host of projects and priorities 22


now dominate church bulletins and websites, calling their communities to build water wells, rescue the sexually enslaved or help rebuild for the victims of the most recent catastrophes. Nowhere is this seeming shift more evident than on the Christian college campus, where interest in the so-called helping professions seems to have found renewed energy. Social work programs and education degrees with international flavor offer the chance to contribute to global challenges. The desire to use virtually any academic path as a means to affect a mission field now runs side by side with more traditional preaching and pastoral strategies.

Connecting to Christ

To the random observer, the connection between the message of Christ and the serving professions

would likely seem a natural one. After all, His teaching—especially during the latter moments He shared with the disciples—is replete with a serving focus. One lesson literally drips with serving priority as He manned the servant’s basin to wash the grime from His disciples’ feet. Jesus even announced His mission through the lenses of the needy, Good News to the poor, release for the captive, sight for the blind and freedom for the oppressed. Elsewhere, He insisted that He “did not come to be served, but to serve” (Matt. 20:28). Even as He concluded a discourse explaining His future return and the promise of judgment (Matt. 25:34-40), He again highlighted the role serving would play in His kingdom: “Then the King will say to those at His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, c h ar ism asb est . com



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