To Serve & Not Be Served

10.19.18 | Pulpit Posts

Sometimes we have the idea that if we follow Jesus we are guaranteed to receive a reward. When that happens, we forget that Jesus’ ministry was one of serving others. He gave himself for the sake of others, including suffering for their salvation.

In Mark’s Gospel, James and John seized the opportunity to ask for the highest positions of honor in His kingdom, one to sit on His right the other on His Left.

Power as the standard of greatness corrupts people. You only have to look at some of our political leaders to see that this is the case. For years, men thought that power belonged to only them. The “Me-Too movement” is changing that and this is good.

People who are corrupted by power fail to realize that there is only a limited amount of power to go around. They want to protect their position, while others who don’t have power want it. If power is a standard of greatness in any organization, including the church, ambition will rule and jealousy will reign. You see, pride wants strokes and lots of them. Pride loves to get the credit, to be mentioned, to receive glory.

Jesus had the right to be mad at the disciples, but he realized that they were slowly beginning to understand what ministry would involve. He chose to teach them the meaning of true greatness by comparing human standards of greatness with God’s standard of servanthood. In Jesus’ vision, greatness is equal to servanthood. Jesus redefined the true nature of greatness. To be great does not mean to lord it over someone. It means to willingly serve under someone.

When we care about the things that hurt others, our hearts will be opened to their pain and that openness will lead to its own suffering. We need to see other people and realize their importance to the world and to God. We need to listen and understand the trials that they have experienced.

When we follow God, we lay the foundation for God’s kingdom here on earth. We have been saved by the greatness of Jesus, and in return we are to serve Jesus by serving others. Someone led us to Christ, so we must lead others to Him. Someone helped us to grow spiritually, so in return we must help others grow spiritually. Someone was kind to us, and in return we are to be kind to others and not dismissive.

This can be hard to remember in our fast-paced world. It can be easy to lose sight of what it means to be great in God’s eyes, but if we slow down and open our eyes we will see that opportunities to serve are all around us.

Each of us has an inner desire to go beyond success to significance. We want our lives to mean something and make a difference. If that is your desire, you must become a candle. A candle sheds lights for others and in the process consumes itself. When our lives become candles, we leave a legacy. What does your candle look like? How much light, if any does it give.

Rev. Robert Jacobs

Rev. Robert Jacobs


Stay current on activity at the Soup Kitchen, guest stories, thoughts from Clergy, news and events.

Subscribe to receive the latest news, events, volunteer opportunities, and more — right to your inbox.

Church of the Holy Apostles

We are an open, inclusive Christian Church celebrating in the Episcopal tradition.

Sunday Service is held 11AM (on site and via livestream). Weekday services are held on Zoom.


For Newcomers

Learn about our faith community and explore ways to connect with our work and worship.


Reflections on Holy Scripture from our Clergy.


Founded in 1844, with a focus on social activism and the desire for social justice.

Clergy, Staff & Vestry

The Vestry is the governing body of the Church of the Holy Apostles.


Music commands a strong presence at the Church of the Holy Apostles.

Space Rental

Host your next meeting or event in our landmark building.

Soup Kitchen & Pantry

Nourishing hungry New Yorkers since 1982 in an atmosphere of respect and hospitality.

Daily meal service

Serving a free, nutritious meal every weekday from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm.

Meal outreach

Distributing bagged breakfasts and lunches throughout Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen.

About the soup kitchen

Learn more about our mission, our history, our performance, who we are, and what we do.

Pantry Program

Providing fresh and nutritious groceries to food-insecure New Yorkers.

Sunday Supper

Bridging generations and building community over a monthly family style meal.

Give Layers of Love this Winter

Help Keep Our Guests Warm this Winter.

Social Support

Meeting basic needs, stabilizing lives, and supporting individuals and families to achieve their goals.


Addressing the needs of the whole person through basic needs, counseling, and referrals.


Offering learning and skill-building opportunities.

Community Partnership

Partnering with others to expand the services offered to our guests.

Get Involved

Holy Apostles is a great place to channel your time, talents and generosity for good.


Make a difference in the lives of New Yorkers experiencing homelessness and hunger.


Join our efforts to serve others and provide for people who are vulnerable.


Your gift provides food, community, and hope to New Yorkers in need.

The Latest

Stay up-to-date on all happenings at Holy Apostles.

Food For The Soul

The official blog of Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen.

Voices of Our Community

Guest stories, poetry, and more.


See our calendar of events.

Church Pulpit Posts

Read weekly meditations written by our clergy.


Holy Apostles in the news.