Availability

vs. Self-Centeredness
Making my own schedule and priorities secondary to the wishes of those I am serving

Key Verse

“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.”
Philippians 2:20–21

The operational definition of availability is “making my own schedule and priorities secondary to the wishes of those I am serving.” To be available means that, when God leads, you are willing to set aside at a moment’s notice whatever you are doing or planning so that you can help someone. Those you serve include your own family as well as anyone around you who needs assistance. By making yourself available to the people God has placed in your life, you are serving Him. (See Matthew 25:40.) Faithfully following a schedule, setting priorities, and making plans are wise habits, but you should be ready to put your activities aside temporarily when the Lord leads you to help someone else. However, before making a regular commitment to help outside your home, check with your parents. They can help you discern if this is the right opportunity and time for you in light of other factors or family activities.

Availability means I am present and ready to offer my time, even when it is inconvenient.
A self-centered person ignores the needs of others and shuts them out of his life.

The opposite of availability is self-centeredness. A self-centered person considers his own interests first and is hardly mindful of the needs of others. The Apostle Paul observed: “For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s” (Philippians 2:21). If one is focused on himself, he may expect others to always accommodate him. When he actually does help someone, he probably will expect that person to repay him for his good deed. A self-centered child may respond, “I’m busy!” when asked to help, even if he is not really busy but only playing. Other times he may hide in his room to avoid being asked to do something or wait for others to volunteer first. Until he turns his focus from himself to Christ and His example, he will not experience the joy of serving others.

Evaluation Questions

  • Do I respond to others in a way that communicates that I am present and attentive?
  • Am I willing to rearrange my schedule when God directs me to meet a need?
  • Do others sense a loving presence and humility to serve when I enter a room?
  • Instead of focusing on myself, do I gladly welcome opportunities to serve others?
  • Before offering to assist someone else, do I first make sure that my family’s needs are met?
  • When I see an opportunity to help someone, am I willing to stop playing so I can help?
  • Am I allowing distracting pleasures or personal ambitions to limit my availability to God and others?
  • Are my resources fully available to God, or do I keep them for my own purposes?
  • In what ways can I simplify my life so that I will be more available to others?

More About Availability

“I used to ask God to help me.Then I asked if I might help Him. I ended up by asking Him to do His work through me.”
J. Hudson Taylor
Transformation results as we behold the Lord and yield to the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives. “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (II Corinthians 3:18). As we see God’s character through testimonies in Scripture, we grow in our understanding and obedience to His Word. Here are ten aspects of Availability with supporting verses found in God’s Word.

God enables me to:

K

Identify whom I serve.

“Ye shall walk after the Lord your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him.” Deuteronomy 13:4 “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” Galatians 5:13
K

Be ready to serve.

“And the king’s servants said unto the king, Behold, thy servants are ready to do whatsoever my lord the king shall appoint.” II Samuel 15:15
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Serve family before others.

“But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” I Timothy 5:8
K

Be a giver.

“I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35
K

Consider the needs of others.

“But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?” I John 3:17
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Stop focusing on myself.

“Let no man seek his own, but every man another’s wealth. . . . Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.” I Corinthians 10:24, 33 “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.” Romans 15:1
K

Rearrange my schedule when necessary.

“A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps.” Proverbs 16:9
K

Respond promptly when I am called.

“And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.” Matthew 4:19–20
K

Serve cheerfully.

“Only fear the Lord, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you.” I Samuel 12:24
K

Confirm before I commit.

“And it came to pass after this, that David inquired of the Lord, saying, Shall I go up into any of the cities of Judah? And the Lord said unto him, Go up. And David said, Whither shall I go up? And he said, Unto Hebron.” II Samuel 2:1

Availability in Scripture

Isaiah Responds to God’s Call

“Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.”
Isaiah 6:8
During a time of spiritual wickedness in Judah, God raised up several prophets. One prophet, Isaiah, delivered God’s messages during the reigns of four different kings of Judah: Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. When Syria, an enemy of Judah, besieged the capital city of Jerusalem, God gave Isaiah a message for King Ahaz: trust the Lord for help. Ahaz, however, did not listen. Instead, he asked Assyria, a former enemy, for help. Taking silver and gold from the Temple, King Ahaz paid the king of Assyria to fight Judah’s enemies. The people of Judah continued to sin. After King Ahaz died, his son Hezekiah became king. When Assyria conquered Samaria and Israel and then attacked Judah, Hezekiah was afraid. He tried to pacify the Syrians by paying their high demands for gold and silver, but Assyria still threatened to overtake Judah. King Hezekiah sent his servants to Isaiah. When they arrived at the prophet’s door, God had a message of hope and direction for them. Whether or not kings liked him, and whether or not his message was pleasant, Isaiah continued to obey God’s call. How had this faithful prophet begun his ministry? What did he see and hear when God called him? How did he respond?

Revealed in Nature

Giraffe

A mature giraffe stands 14 to 17 feet tall. Giraffes travel in herds and are available to serve by standing guard, providing defense, or watching the young. Thus, a giraffe fulfills the requirement for greatness, which is seeing further down the road than those around me.

For Kids

Biblical Character Illustrated Curriculum

The Biblical Character Illustrated Curriculum uses examples from the lives of men and women in the Bible whose walk with God resulted in good character or whose lack of faith produced poor character. Through this study, children are encouraged to overcome the natural inclination to care only for their own interests by submitting to God and esteeming others as more important than themselves.

View the Availability booklet sample:

Get the complete Availability booklet with all four lessons & activities:

Free Resources for Availability

Enjoy these selections from the Biblical Character Illustrated Curriculum that are fun and memorable!

Bible Story Coloring Page
Verse & Definition Word Search
Related Hymn Sheet Music
Availability is giving our hearts — not just our hands — to a task.
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