When I think about how you can serve Jesus by serving others and lifting others up, I’m reminded of the shamash candle in the Hanukkah menorah. It is the servant candle. It is there, sometimes lifted up above the others, for the sole purpose of lighting the other candles. This is the one candle lit each night of the 8 day holiday. So let’s learn about how this one candle can serve as a great example of serving God by lighting the candles of others around us and how it does not diminish our own light by doing so.
Serving Others by Sharing Your Own Light – The Shamash Candle
A shamash is, by definition, one who serves. Throughout the year, it is known as the person who is the caretaker of the synagogue. But it is a position that is held in high esteem. It does not imply that it is a lowly position in any way.
The shamash candle is lit and then used to light the other candles each night of Hanukkah. We start with one on the first night and then add another each night until all of them are lit on the final night and the fullness of the light of the menorot fills the room (we have one for each person in the house so that is why I use the plural but some homes use just one).
But as the shamash it lit and then used to transfer its flame to the others to share its light with them, it doesn’t diminish the light, it increases it. Each night it grows brighter as the shamash lights more and more candles.
Sometimes we are hesitant to use our own light to share with others because we feel it might diminish our own.
This is a bigger issue outside of the family of believers (the world) than it is within it, but it is still an issue even with believers in Yeshua.
The world tells us that if we use our candle to help light another’s we will be losing some of our own light. It tells people to look out for “number one” and people become adversarial with other businesses or blogs rather than lifting them up.
But our light does not diminish as we serve others. When we lift up our friends’ ministries, blogs, businesses, churches…it doesn’t diminish our own. In fact, although seemingly counter-intuitive, it can actually increase.
We should be helping others grow brighter and, in doing so, we help the world grow a little brighter as well.We should be helping others grow brighter and, in doing so, we help the world grow a little brighter as well. Click To Tweet
We Serve God by Serving Others – A Story of Two Jewish Men
There is a story I wanted to share with you but sadly I cannot remember where I heard it and cannot locate it so the best way to tell it is to paraphrase. If I get minor details wrong, that’s ok…the point is still the same and the basic premise is still correct.
The story was of a Jewish deli owner (I think…may have been another kind of restaurant but again, I am paraphrasing) who was successful in his business and had been THE neighborhood deli a long time. But a competitor moves in right across the street from him.
Imagine that! You have a good business going, a Jewish deli in a Jewish neighborhood does well, and this competitor doesn’t just open up nearby but right across the street!
So does the man start plotting ways he can advertise more? Does he take part in lashon hara (literally evil tongue…it’s unfounded gossip)? Does he sit and start to think about how to do it bigger and better than this man who moves in across from him?
No. This Jewish deli owner walks across the street and introduces himself. He tells his competitor who the best distributors and vendors are, gives him information on what sells best in that neighborhood and what doesn’t. He gives him names and numbers of people who would be good to know and do business with. He basically gives him the scoop on what works for him!
The man goes the extra mile and HELPS his competitor. Why?
Well, when asked that question he said because if God wants my business to be successful, it will be! And if He doesn’t then He doesn’t. No human being can change that! Wow! Such faith!
He believed that his own interests and the state of his business didn’t rest in his hands or in the hands of his new competitor. It rested with God alone! So he chose rather to serve his competition and let God be God. He put the needs of others first and let his business rest in God’s hands.
Being Servant Leaders by Serving Others in Service to God
The shamash’s job is to light the candles. It is not its job to make sure the other candles burn brighter than the next or even worry if one goes out. Its job is to share its light and let God handle the rest.The shamash's job is to light the candles. It is not its job to make sure the other candles burn brighter than the next or even worry if one flickers out. Its job is to share its light and let God handle the rest. Click To Tweet
Do we do this or do we worry about our own agendas?
If we are bloggers and see a new blogger in our niche struggling, do we help them? Do we share their posts more knowing they are trying to fulfill what they see as God’s plan for their lives and ministry?
Do we take them under our wing and help nurture them or do we just go our own way? Do we get excited that they are starting a site in our own niche and that more of God will be shared and more good works done? Or do we distance ourselves from them or try to make people think our site is better or that our service or product is better?
Do we even help our own friends in our niche or our business? We should most certainly be helping light our friends’ candles right?? What about a family member? Are we lighting THEIR candle?
This IS how the world treats competitors!
The world sees them as enemies to their business or blog. The business world looks for ways to out-do the competition doesn’t concern themselves with the interests of others in their field. It’s about out-competing them!
That is NOT serving God, that is serving our own desires and our own bottom line!
Are we the shamash that helps light another or are we keeping that light to ourselves believing it will somehow diminish our own?
That is a Tower of Babel situation where you are trying to build a tower in your own power and trying to be lord of your own life and you’re not allowing God to lift you up and keep that light shining.
You are not trusting God with your business or blog in the way the Jewish deli owner trusted Him and His provision.
If you are not helping others because they might take some business from you or you’re afraid they will do it better, then you are not serving God nor are you trusting that He put you in the great place of service you are in or that your spiritual gifts are being used for His will.
You are relying on yourself.
Viewing How We Serve God by Serving Other
We tend to view serving God by doing some act of service for an organization or our church or by donating to certain charities that help the poor or fund missions.
And this is ALL important! It is VERY important.
But if you are doing these things while you are battling a “competitor” in your blogging ministry or your business and trying to outrun them or make sure they don’t do better than you, you may as well have not donated that money or your time.
Luke 6:38 says:
Give and it will be given to you!
This is often used in reference to monetary giving but it’s not only financial. It is giving in the sense of reaching out, to provide necessary things (which can be money at times) to help others and make a difference for Jesus Christ.
But my favorite definition of this word in the Greek – “didomi” – is to “give forth from one’s self”
If we give of ourselves, our knowledge (and when we admit that maybe we can actually learn something from our competitor and that we don’t know EVERYTHING), when we reach out and extend ourselves to others, lighting their candle, the light around us becomes brighter and we live out the words of Jesus and make this a better world for those around us.
The more candles we, as a shamash, light, the brighter the world becomes!
So seek out those who you may never think to help – those the world views as competitors. See how you can use your light to give their candle a little bit more brightness.
In a world that stresses self-promotion and marketing and getting ahead, let’s see whose candle needs lighting.In a world that stresses self-promotion and marketing, let's see whose candle needs lighting. Click To Tweet
Look for Ways You Can Be Serving Others in Your Business, Blog, Ministry
See what ways you can be serving others in your industry.
Are you a fitness coach? See how you can collaborate with other coaches rather than just competing with them.
I am not saying you don’t want your business or blog to do well! But like our friend, the Jewish deli owner, we need to realize that God will take care of us as we care for others in a spirit of service.
If we are trying to build things in our own power, then we are thinking of just that…power.
We are thinking of OUR bottom line instead of helping others spread the Word of God!
If we are worried that the new blog or business on the block is going to take all our business away, that says more about how we view ourselves than it does how we view them. We are not trusting the Lord!
If that other blogger succeeds (I use blogger as an example because I am one) how do we know they won’t be able to go on to help thousands through a ministry or missions? We may never know this side of the Messianic Kingdom how many people were helped because we did some acts of kindness in people’s lives.
Share their posts on social media! Not just your friends or bloggers or business people in your inner circle, but those you may not know so well.
As Yeshua said, it is easy to do things for people who do nice things for you! Even the world does that!
Helping your friends is what you SHOULD do simply by virtue of the fact that they are a friend (and if you’re not helping your friends either then you should really look at the kind of friend you are!).
Helping those who are in your niche or in your industry who are your competition? Well…not quite as easy but THAT is how you spread light.
It is known as chesed or loving-kindness but it is the loving-kindness that is shown best when you have no expectation of that person doing anything in return!
Add a backlink to them on your site!
We need to stop worrying so much about what their Domain Authority is and worry about whether or not they have a message that could help someone and gets God’s Word out there!
I am not saying share their posts if it’s completely wrong for your site or has content that conflicts with your faith. But if it does align with yours, don’t worry about numbers!
Their domain authority might be low because they are new! One day theirs may exceed your own and then you’ve built a really high quality backlink!
If their business is new, one day it may be in a position to lift YOURS up!
We need to worry less about how people can serve US and our business and worry more about what we can do to be the shamash and share our light to help them grow brighter themselves!
So let’s see what the Lord thinks about serving others in serving Him!We need to stop worrying so much about what their Domain Authority is and worry about whether or not they have a message that could help someone and gets God's Word out there! Click To Tweet
Bible Verses About Serving Others
Mark 10:44-45 TLV
"...and whoever wants to be first among you shall 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.”
Mark 9:35 CJB
"He sat down, summoned the Twelve and said to them, “If anyone wants to be first, he must make himself last of all and servant of all.”"
Proverbs 11:25 CJB
"The person who blesses others will prosper; he who satisfies others will be satisfied himself."
Hebrews 13:16 CJB
"But don’t forget doing good and sharing with others, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased."
1 Samuel 12:24 CJB
"Only fear Adonai, and serve him faithfully with all your heart; for think what great things he has done for you!"
Proverbs 3:27 CJB
"Don’t withhold good from someone entitled to it when you have in hand the power to do it."
2 Corinthians 4:5 CJB
"For we do not proclaim ourselves, but Messiah Yeshua as Lord—and ourselves as your slaves for Yeshua’s sake."
2 Corinthians 8:9 TLV
"For you know the grace of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah—that even though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, so that through His poverty you might become rich."
Exodus 17:12 TLV
"Moses’ hands grew heavy, so they took a stone, put it under him, and he sat down. Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on each side. So his hands were steady until the sun went down."
Luke 6:35 TLV
“But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Then your reward will be great and you will be sons of Elyon, for He is kind to the ungrateful and evil ones."
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CJB – Taken from the Complete Jewish Bible by David H. Stern. Copyright © 1998. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Messianic Jewish Publishers, 6120 Day Long Lane, Clarksville, MD 21029. www.messianicjewish.net.
NASB – “Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Copyright by The Lockman Foundation“
Tree of Life (TLV) – Scripture taken from the Holy Scriptures, Tree of Life Version*. Copyright © 2014,2016 by the Tree of Life Bible Society. Used by permission of the Tree of Life Bible Society.