Friendship with Jesus: Finding JOY in Serving Others

Billie Jo YoumansBy Billie Jo Youmans6 Minutes

Friends influence our lives in many ways – attitudes, actions, and even our goals. We truly do become like our friends, and that is a beautiful truth of friendship with Jesus. Serving is a fundamental characteristic of Jesus, and when you walk with Him, you’ll become a servant too. That’s good news worth considering.

Maybe you’ve seen the acrostic: JOY? Putting Jesus first, others second, and ourselves last is the way of Christ — and the way to joy.


God always wants the best for us, so the call – the command – to serve appears throughout the Scriptures. Jesus said, ‘as the Father has sent me, so send I you (John 20:21), and record of Jesus’ commitment to service abound.

Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all” (Mark 9:35).

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 (Mark 10:45).

For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves (Luke 22:27).

We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world (1 John 4:14).

…have the same mindset as Christ Jesus … he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant …(Philippians 2:5-7).

A lifetime of serving others is the way to joy, but the desire to serve isn’t always a divine calling, nor is it exclusive to those who walk with Jesus. In fact, many times non-believers are better, more courageous servants than those of us entrusted with carrying on the mission that rescued us. But the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable (Romans 11:29 AMP) – Jesus just keeps purifying our service to Him as we walk alongside Him. We’ll explore that aspect of Jesus’ friendship next time!

The desire to serve often includes many hidden motivations: acceptance by others, personal significance, a need for affirmation and approval, self-defined justice, and pride. The divine call to serve has only one goal: giving God glory. Purifying our service is a ministry of Jesus we all need – but we’ll explore more next time. Today, let’s enjoy a deep look at the blessings of knowing Jesus more by serving alongside Him.

Christian servanthood isn’t just “volunteering” at church or in a ministry. True servanthood is a discipline of faith. It will challenge you, grow you, and completely humble you. While are fully equipped for the services God wants us to do (2 Timothy 3:17, Hebrews 13:20-21, Ephesians 4:12),  we need to develop some spiritual muscle through disciplined service to appropriate our inheritance.

Serving alongside Jesus can happen every moment of every day. Truly transformative, joy-filled service involves:

Purposing the Right Purpose

  • Serving needs to be about God and His plans for the world. It’s not just about making you feel good about the work your doing. And it’s not really about making the other people feel good. True Christian service is unto God – and both the server and the recipient are mutual beneficiaries. (1 Corinthians 10:31)

Restoring Relationships

  • The ministry of reconciliation – is the foundation of all Christian service. When we begin our walk of friendship with the Savior, we enter the “family business” of reconciling the world to the Father. 2 Corinthians 5 always stirs my passion for this mission!

Growing in Grace

  • Serving others probably won’t look nearly as sweet as you thought when you began. We people are a thorny, ungrateful lot. Remember, Jesus died for us while we were His enemies! Not everyone you serve – and not everyone you serve with – will bring joy and delight to your day. Grace growers (those people that make you run to Jesus) are a tremendous gift. He is your supply and will provide all you need.

Giving Glory to God

  • The ultimate outcome of serving alongside Jesus is greater glory for the Father. The outcomes we often hope for when we begin serving don’t always materialize. But God promises that “all work bears profit” (Proverbs 14:23). He has plans far beyond our understanding, and our call is to walk in obedience and trust Him.

The real “work of God” is faith…and serving alongside Jesus is faith in action. Listen to the concerns God places on your heart and ask Him to show you opportunities to serve others in those areas. Then trust Him to do greater things.