Availability is simplifying our daily needs so we are ready and able to serve those whom God brings to us.
When Jesus called His disciples, He used the verb akoloutheo, which means “to accompany, to join one as a disciple.” He taught them to not be hindered by personal cares and distractions and explained the sacrifices they would make to serve Him: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Matthew 16:24). The Greek word for deny is aparneomai, meaning “to forget one’s self, lose sight of one’s self and one’s own interests.”
Availability Begins by Choosing One Leader
Availability is impossible to demonstrate if we try to serve more than one leader. “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other …” (Matthew 6:24).
Every person must choose to serve the Lord. Otherwise, by default self will be served by seeking after such things as money, popularity, or possessions. Joshua stated, “As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15).
Availability Is Foundational to Discipleship
Jesus called His disciples to a life of availability. The whole concept of discipleship is rooted in being available for training and serving. In the days of Jesus, a person who wanted to acquire knowledge from a master teacher would set aside his personal agenda and literally follow the teacher. Because of this practice, these people were called “followers.”
Today, this very same practice is carried out as students leave their homes and go to places of learning to be taught by experienced teachers.
Availability Is Based on the Joy of Making Others Successful
True happiness is found not in receiving things, but in giving that which will truly benefit the lives of others. Paul praised Timothy for his availability. “For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state. For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s. But ye know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he hath served with me in the gospel” (Philippians 2:20–22).
Jesus is the ultimate example of availability. In obedience to the will of His heavenly Father, Jesus lived among people who had needs and served them from early morning until night. He laid down His life that we might have life, and now He makes intercession for us at the right hand of God. (See Romans 8:34.)
How Can We Develop Availability?
By not seeking our own pleasure
The pleasures of the world dissipate time, energy, and assets. Proverbs says, “Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings” (Proverbs 31:3). The futility of seeking our own pleasure is accurately described by the word amusement, derived from the root words a, meaning “not,” and muser, meaning “to think.”
By not pursuing great achievements for ourselves
“Seekest thou great things for thyself? seek them not” (Jeremiah 45:5). By pursuing personal achievement, we will be distracted from achieving the goals of those whom we serve, and we will tend to use others to serve us and our goals.
By becoming good stewards of our resources
As we learn to be good stewards of the time, energy, and resources we have, we will be able to serve others more readily and effectively. Paul stated, “I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ” (Philippians 3:8).
- Do you choose to serve God rather than money?
- Do you work to make others successful?
- Do you keep your personal responsibilities to a minimum so that you have more time to serve others?
- Do you deny yourself distracting pleasures?
- Do you set aside personal ambitions in order to advance the kingdom of God and His righteousness?