The theme for our church this year is " LOVE SERVES " and I think it is a great one. We live in a harried, self focused culture where we almost have to make a concerted effort to think of others first. Hate to say that, but it is true, is it not ? I mean, if we are tossing chicken nuggets to our kids as we are going through the drive through on the way to taking them to soccer practice, it can be sort of difficult to see the need of the guy holding the cardboard sign saying that he is homeless as we drive away munching on fries.

   Sometimes we Christians also mistake the notion of " serving " as strictly meaning " church busyness ". Being involved in a local church is a good and necessary thing but it is just a piece of the puzzle when it comes to serving others. Just look around you. Have you tried to get to personally know that same server that always serves your table at your favorite restaurant? Have you tried to get to know that person as a friend? Offered to get together with them some time when they are not working?

 How about our neighbors ? Do they need a meal ? Maybe a ride somewhere ? Does that elderly neighbor need their grass cut ? I have fallen far short in this area. Like many, I barely know some of them and yet I have lived next door or across the street from them for ten to twenty years. Why do I care more about those who I see in the pews every Sunday than those whose house I look at every day ? That shouldn't be the case yet too often it is.

 How about the lady at the cleaners ? Do we even know her name ? Do we care enough about her to strike up a conversation or are we just satisfied to nod , take our ticket and walk out the door ...until we see her again in a week or so. Do we know the names of the cashier at the grocery store ? Well, perhaps we do because they have a name tag but have we ever tried to know them more than that ? 

Just too many times, Christians think "serving" is just serving those who they go to church with. In fact, those are the only people that they know because they have gradually slipped into " living in a box" where they cannot name even five non`Christians that they know or could even call acquaintances. That is just ludicrous. Christ called us to serve yes, but mostly to serve others outside the church not just to pat one another on the back as we huddle with our best friends in the church aisles. Yet, that is what we've become for the most part.

The challenge for all of us is to think outside that box. Stop thinking of serving as being on the latest church committee or group or being in the latest church activity. Start thinking of it as trying to find people who have never even stepped inside a church and helping them in any way that we can. That is what Jesus did. He wasn't as concerned with making colorful centerpieces, or folding the banquet napkins just so for the next church gathering as much as He wanted to reach folks to come to the table.

 Please just think about it - SERVING is not synonymous with church busyness. It is just flat out living life in a way that seeks to help others in the name of Jesus....

whether they have ever stepped foot in church or not.

Let's look past those church doors ....not just inside of them.