Serving one another within the body of Christ means using our spiritual gifts. In 1 Corinthians 12–14, Paul described how we are to use our spiritual gifts. It is here that we learn that the Holy Spirit has empowered us for works of service to build up the church. We use our gifts to express the gospel. But it is also with great intentionality in how we do so. In 12:18 we learn, “But now God has placed each one of the parts in one body just as He wanted.” Your acts of service are due to the presence of the Holy Spirit within you. He is directing and empowering you to minister to others. As you minister in His power, it is then for His glory.
The body of Christ imagery drives home for us that through service, we discover the interdependence shared among believers. The church is very much like the sequoia trees in California. There are more than eight thousand trees in the Giant Forest of Sequoia National Park, and the largest, the General Sherman tree, is one hundred feet in circumference at the base of its trunk.* The trees are likely the oldest living organisms on the planet.
It is an overwhelming sensation to be in the presence of a forest of trees that stretch more than two hundred feet into the air. But the most amazing aspect is their root system. One would logically conclude that such enormous trees would have roots that dig deep into the earth. But the opposite is true. In- stead, their roots are only five feet deep. But they stretch out sideways through multiple acres of territory. In doing so, the roots intertwine with one another. The way that these massive trees stand up during the storms is by their interdependence. They quite literally hold one another upright.
Believers’ service to one another is the same kind of interdependence. We sustain one another through the storms of life. Servanthood is not just being nice. It is lending weight, support, and compassion to another human who is struggling through life’s trials. For your brothers and sisters in the kingdom, serving them is not a chore assigned to you by a capricious parent. Serving Christians is fulfilling Galatians 6:2 when it says, “Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Bearing another’s weighty load is a work of imitating the divine.
(* The General Sherman Tree; http://www.nps.gov/seki/learn/nature/sherman.htm)
Taken from chapter 9 of “Habits for Our Holiness”