Reflection on the Purpose of Serving

Written by Daniel Xiao, Business Operations Associate

Coming into college

As a sophomore coming into college for the first time (Zoom University doesn’t count), I was, again, caught up in the “busyness” of classes, clubs, making friends, and struggling to fit in. I was so caught up in trying to establish myself in a community that I completely disregarded finding a local church. In fact, if it weren’t for the grace of God, I would likely not be in a Christian fellowship today.

In class one day, I happened to share that I am a pastor’s kid. A person reached out and asked me if I was plugged into a fellowship yet. It was through him that I was introduced to the Crossroads student fellowship. Looking back, I probably did not visit Crossroads for the right reasons. I was again, taking it upon myself to fit in at UC Berkeley. However, as stated in Isaiah 55:9,

For as the heavens are higher than the earth,

so are my ways higher than your ways

and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Being in a student fellowship

Over time, I realized that I was viewing Christianity as my father’s religion and was numb to the teachings of God’s love, justice, mercy, grace, and sovereignty. And furthermore, because I based my view of Christianity off my father, I took all of his flaws as flaws in God. Then, for the first time since middle school, after having gone through many Bible reading sessions and hearing our others’ testimonies, I found myself wanting to build a relationship with and have faith in Christ.

However, I still continued to struggle with my desire to fit in. Even at church and in Christian fellowships, I placed more importance on attending the socials than having fellowship with my brothers and sisters. I found myself unconsciously playing the role of a good Christian in order to fit in rather than to know and love God.


Toward the end of my sophomore year, I often found myself conflicted over the reason I served. We are called to

“… work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” (Colossians 3:23–24).

Yet, I found myself seeking to gain approval from man through my work and service.

Coming into my junior year, I was asked to serve in the Bible studies ministry in Crossroads. Again, I found myself being tempted to say yes in order to glorify myself. Instead of saying yes immediately (like I always did), I asked for some time to think.


To be honest, I could not come to a clear conclusion. I did serve with the intent of supporting the body of Christ. But I also found myself seeking personal gains through my acts of service — I was plagued with the sin of self-glorification. I felt a bit hopeless, almost as if I could never truly serve God because my intentions would never be clean.

During this time of reflection, I was reminded of the good news of Christ. That

“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,” (Romans 3:23–24).

We were never called to make ourselves perfect. Instead, we should strive to take refuge in Christ Jesus who redeems us from sin.

I decided to serve in the Bible studies ministry. Through this ministry, I was encouraged again and again by the Word and the brothers and sisters around me. I still struggle with satisfying myself. In fact, there is definitely a part of me right now that is taking pleasure in how I will be viewed by those who read this Medium post. Despite my imperfect serving, I take comfort in knowing that Christ will continue to renew me despite my sins.

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need,” (Hebrews 4:15–16).



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