Friday, February 4, 2011

Serving For the Right Reason

Do you love to serve?  I'll bet you do; anyone who has the Spirit of the living God dwelling in them loves to serve.  I've found such a joy in bringing people into our home or in taking them a meal or lending them books!  I have no doubt that y'all have similar stories of joy being made complete in serving someone who is in need.

But here's another question:  do you always love to serve?  What about when serving will create some sort of sacrifice in your life?  Do you still love to serve?  Again, I'll bet you do.  After all, the very definition of service means that you'll give up something to benefit someone else, whether that be in the way of time, food, possessions, or money.  Still, when we see the happiness or relief that our sacrifice has brought to someone else, it's well worth it.  We get this surge of joy ourselves in making others happy & healthy.

However . . . what if it doesn't?  What if our service to them, our sacrifice for them, elicits something other than gratitude?  Do we still love to serve?  If that person to whom I give a meal doesn't thank me, or even goes a step further & berates me for it not being to their liking, am I still glad to have served them?  Or do I walk away thinking, "Well!  See if I ever help you again!"?

What is my purpose in serving?  Is it to win accolades & make people like me?  Or is it because in serving them - regardless of their response - I am serving my Lord & Savior Jesus Christ?  Let me be reminded, lest I forget, that He came to serve & received mocking, beatings, & a tortuous death in return.  That's what awaits me, His servant, should I follow in His stead.  There are those who will spit upon my service to them, especially - for some reason - those who need it most.  But that doesn't excuse me from joyfully, lovingly serving them.  Rather, that gives me cause to rejoice that I can take part in His suffering in some small way.  I should serve, not to find joy in the gratitude & praise of those around me, but because my ultimate joy is in Him whom I proclaim when I love & serve even the unlovable.

So, here's my prayer:  that I will respond with love & kindness & continued service when I'm faced with a difficult person, someone whom I see as "unlovable".  And, when I begin to think too highly of myself, may I be reminded that if I were not one of those "unlovables" myself, Jesus Christ wouldn't have had to die in my place.