There was a moment on our recent Mission Jamaica trip when I wondered who was serving who. It happened on the last day at Westhaven Children’s Home, where we had spent several days painting, building, washing clothes, and helping care for the 90+ disabled residents.

It was “track and field day” for the Westhaven kids. But before we headed up to the field, the staff gathered the residents for morning devotions led by one of the older boys. Let’s call him Blake, for anonymity’s sake.

Blake started with a song: “We’re together again, just praising the Lord, and I feel good, good…” Everyone joined in, singing full throat. And then Blake prayed one of the most elegant, heartfelt prayers I have ever heard. He was ministering to his peers. And he was ministering to us. To think that we had arrived believing we were the missionaries. Such is the kingdom of God, I think.

In Matthew 20, Jesus says that he “did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom to many.” This confused his disciples. Most great teachers wanted followers to admire and serve them for their wisdom. Jesus taught that the greatest calling is to serve those around you. “As you do it to the least of these, you do it to me,” he said. He spoke about serving others as if it was breathing – something essential to everyday life.

At Trinity, one of our core values is “Courageous Mission and Service” – the idea that Christ-like service draws us away from our need to only care for ourselves, opening us up to the needs of our neighbor. Serving others often requires sacrifice and the courage to try something new. It asks that we relinquish some control, or that we receive as much as we give. In short, serving like Christ transforms us.

To be a servant is our calling and our joy. How is God calling you to courageous mission and service? In what ways is God already using you to bring grace, forgiveness, and Christ-like love to others?