By Levi Furber
Mark 10:43-45 (NIV)
Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
Growing up, my papa, who was and still is my mentor, would always invite me on his excursions to Toronto. For a young boy that lived in the country all his life, I was intimidated, yet excited to join. I have to admit, when I first went to Toronto, I didn’t think it was the cleanest or most appealing place to be in; however, my papa and I had an exciting day to look forward to.
I was never aware that God purposely positioned me in Toronto that evening. I had the opportunity to pray for healing and restoration for dozens of people. The funny thing is, I was just a 10 year old kid that believed in a limitless God. When I witnessed God’s works, I didn’t hesitate to jump in. I remember praying for the sick, the poor, the depressed, knowing that we have a God that is beyond our problems; a God that loves us unconditionally. Now looking back, I can connect the dots and realize that God was molding me into the servant that I am today.
Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
Fast forwarding to my later teens, one of my good friends, Daniel, and I attended a youth group in Hamilton. Being the country boys and having friends from up the mountain, all we would hear were horror stories of downtown Hamilton. That all changed when Dan and I participated in The Amazing Race – Hamilton. As predicted, Dan and I instantly found ourselves lost in downtown Hamilton. While we were filled with the adrenaline and completely focused on winning, God opened my eyes to my surroundings. I remember seeing people left hungry, sleeping on the ground. Beggars filled the streets, hoping to receive some sort of donation of money or food. Although I was so eager to get back on track with the race, I had to take a moment to fully encapsulate the hopelessness that filled the air. I eventually came across Matthew 25:35-40, which says:
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ ‘The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
The notion that God calls us to serve one another, that what we do for our brothers and sisters, is done in the will of our Father. The idea of serving God by serving others gave me the drive to pray over my calling. In my last year of high school, I felt certain that I was going to attend McMaster University for nursing. I remember working so hard to achieve that goal: obtaining the grades, creating a future plan, etc. The problem was, I only thought about the practicality of nursing, ignoring the fact that God may have something else in store. Although God calls many individuals into nursing, I was caught chasing my own desires. When I realized that was an issue, I immediately dove into prayer. After many weeks of praying and learning to surrender my future to God, my path was completely changed. Instead of following my plan, God directed me to Wilfrid Laurier University where I would learn to become a teacher [Concurrent Education]. Looking back to the alteration, I now realize that God had a plan; a plan that would allow me to impact many lives through student-teaching.
As a student-teacher, I am constantly seeking opportunities where I can volunteer at schools and discreetly integrate my faith. I was fortunate to be given the opportunity to co-lead Hess Street Elementary School’s (HSES) boys’ soccer team the past 3 years. Being the coach, you immediately develop a bond with the team and learn about every individual. While I was only expecting it to be soccer related, I was shocked to hear such patronizing stories. The stories I heard were all over the spectrum, including: the disappearance of children (caused by human trafficking), the absence of family and the need for food. Rather than looking through the lens of disparity, I prayed into them, knowing that we have a God that cares. By showing God my obedience to serve, I was blessed with opportunities such as coaching and teaching at HSES, where I shared the hope and love of Jesus.
God is unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help him.
By demonstrating obedience and the willingness to serve God, many doors will open. Serving God’s kingdom should and will never be stagnant. If anything, you better brace yourself for life-changing experiences. Even by simply displaying God’s love to your neighbours, you will be in awe of His works. Overall, the stories I have shared just scrape the surface. God has provided me many opportunities and I expect many more. If you call yourself a disciple of Christ, know that when we follow him, we must come as a servant (John 12:26). The greatest plan that Jesus ever presented in His ministry was the ministry of service.