Spiritual Growth - Living a Life of Faith

How We Serve God by Serving Others – Meet the Shamash Candle of Hannukah

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With Hanukkah just around the corner, I began to think about the beautiful lights of the menorot (plural for menorah) and all the blue colors used in my decor for the holiday. It is really a beautiful time! I’m reminded of the shamash in the menorah. It is the servant candle. It is there, sometimes lifted up above the others on some menorot, for the sole purpose of lighting the others. This is the one candle lit each night. So let’s go on and explore how this candle can serve as a great example of serving God by serving others in business and in our personal life.

An image of someone lighting a menorah with a shamash candle and a text overlay in blue that says Serve the Lord by Serving Others - Meet the Shamash Candle

Serving Others by Sharing Your Own Light – The Shamash Candle

Shamash is a servant. Throughout the year, it is known as the person who is the caretaker of the synagogue. 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 I will 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. But a competitor moves in right across the street from him. Imagine that! You have a good business going, a Jewish deli in the city 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?

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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 HELPS his competitor. Why? Because he said if God wants my business to be successful, it will be! And if He doesn’t then He doesn’t. Wow! Such faith!

He believed that the state of his business didn’t rest in his hands or in the hands of his new competitor. It rested with Adonai! So he chose rather to serve his competition and let God be God.

What a great testament to serving God by serving others. He helped out someone who was new in business and did it trusting God would do what He would do.

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? If we are bloggers and see a new blogger in our niche struggling, do we help them? Do we share their posts more? Do we take them under our wing and help nurture them? Do we get excited that they are starting off a site in our own niche and that more of God will be shared? 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?

This IS how the world treats competitors! We see them as enemies to our business or blog and that is NOT serving God, that is serving the world (and quite honestly our own bottom line!)

Are we the shamash that helps light another or are we keeping that light to ourselves believing it will diminish our own?

That is a Tower of Babel situation where you are trying to build a tower in your own power so you can be great 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, you are not serving God by serving others!

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Viewing How We Serve God by Serving Others

We tend to view serving God by serving others by donating to certain organizations that help the poor, or doing volunteer work or donating to our church to help missionaries.

And this is ALL important! It is VERY important.

But if you are doing these things while you are battling a “competitor” in your blog or business and trying to out-do 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—a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, overflowing, will be given into your lap. For whatever measure you measure out will be measured back to you.”


Give and it will be given to you! This is often used in reference to monetary giving but it’s not only that. It is giving in the sense of reaching out, to provide necessary things (which can be money at times). But my favorite definition of this greek word “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!

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 some brightness.

In a world that stresses self-promotion and marketing, 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.

I am not saying you don’t want your business or blog to do well! But like our friend, the Jewish deli shop owner, we need to realize that God will take care of us as we care for others.

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 new blog or business 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 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 for another.

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Share their posts on Instagram! 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 why that is!). 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 quality content that could help someone! I am not saying share their posts if it’s completely wrong for your site or has content that doesn’t make sense. But if it does, 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!

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!

Bible Verses About Serving Others

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.

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  1. Enjoyed learning more about the candles of the Menorah. And how you applied each to a practical act in our lives. The thought of in our culture of self-promotion helping someone light their candle was the wow-factor for me! So good!