On the serving pathway people find that God’s presence seems most tangible when they are involved in helping others. Jesus’ comment that “whatever you did for the least of these, you did for me” is a truth they experience viscerally. If this is you, you may find that you are somewhat uncomfortable in a setting where you don’t have a role to play. But if you can do something—set up chairs, make coffee, help decorate—you feel a sense of God’s delight in you. You often find yourself making observations that help you grow, or speaking to God in ways that feel most natural while you are engaged in acts of service.
An example of this in Scripture might be a woman named Dorcas. She gets only a brief mention in the book of Acts, but we are told that she was always doing good and involved in helping the poor. Mother Teresa would be a kind of modern icon for this pathway. She said that the primary reason she was so involved in serving was not that it was something she was supposed to do, but that it brought her joy. She often felt her own inadequacy when she was alone; she never felt the presence of Jesus more strongly than in those she served. Jimmy Carter has probably inspired more people as an ex-president than he did while he was in office because of his passion for servanthood through channels like Habitat for Humanity.
People on this pathway find that if they are just attending church but have no place to serve, God begins to feel distant. They need to be plugged into a community where they have meaningful serving opportunities. They can enrich their sense of God’s presence in their lives by constantly looking for him in the people they serve.
A danger to these people is the temptation to think God is present only when they are serving. They can get so caught up in being God’s servant they forget they are his child first of all. They will have to stretch by learning to receive love as well as to offer it. Another danger is that if I am a big-time server, there is the temptation to resent others who are not serving as much as I am. On the serving pathway people find that God’s presence seems most tangible when they are involved in helping others. — God Is Closer Than You Think: This Can Be the Greatest Moment of Your Life Because This Moment Is the Place Where You Can Meet God (John Ortberg)