Saturday, February 25, 2012

Reflections on Service

Last week, I mentioned that I was struggling in my faith, and that I had reached out to God, told Him I didn't know what I needed, and asked Him to show me what was wrong and where.  The first half of that answer came the same day, and the result was my posting about Negative Spaces.  The second half of that answer would come the next day, last Friday.

Part of my anger and resentment came because I felt that I was serving others more than they were serving me. God pointed out to me that if I was not being served the way that I wanted to be served, perhaps the problem was that I gave them no evidence that there was joy to be found in serving because I certainly didn't think of serving as a joy.  In plain and simple terms, I was teaching them through my own actions and behaviors that serving was something you did just as much as you had to and avoided when you could.

I looked at my behavior, at my attitudes about service and compared them to God's.  Did God only serve as much as He was served, or did He delight in serving?  God delights in serving mankind.  Jesus spent almost every hour of every waking day in some form of service to others.  He found joy in it, and if it is true of Him, it must become true of me.

I had never examined before my attitudes toward service. I served in the hopes I would be served. That's not true service, it's a kind of manipulation.  I never expected to find joy in service because I never had anyone say to me that I should.  Over the last two years, I have accepted and even embraced the idea that if I give my money to God, He will return it to me in abundance and as a result I have learned to give more generously, yet I had never stopped and considered that if this is true of money - that when I give of my money, my Father will give back to me - then how much more true is this of service to others?

Service is a source of joy, and I think that the reason more people do not find joy in their lives is that more people are reluctant to serve others. We are reluctant to serve because we are afraid we will be taken advantage of, and we probably will.  We are reluctant to serve because we are afraid we will not be appreciated, and we probably won't be.  This fear, though, shouldn't hold us back from experiencing the joy that comes when you live your life for others.  We should so delight in service that we are disappointed when we cannot serve someone, so delight in doing for others that it becomes a habit of ours to actively seek out others to serve.

Imagine how much the world would be changed if you and I were to ask one person each day, "How can I serve you today"? Imagine if we gave our service to that person without counting the time it took or the effort, but simply served them as if they were Jesus.  How different our world would be if we each served one another out of love, not expecting to get anything in return but confident that in this service to others we would find joy.

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