It’s easy to see why I got it all wrong.
Serving others is not natural to most humans.
Ever since I was a a little girl, I have wanted to DO things. You could say I was a busy beaver from the start. And when I got saved, at age nine, that desire was transferred to DOING THINGS for God.
Unfortunately, like many Christians, I misunderstood what I was supposed to be doing. And over the years, I became a busybody serving my flesh, instead of a busy beaver serving Jesus.
I had good intentions, in my mind. “I am an ambassador for Christ!”. Except that I had no idea what that truly meant.
To be more clear, I was more interested in ‘fixing people and fixing problems’ than being a SERVANT who simply loved others and let them see Jesus in me.
This is a hard habit to break! It’s so much easier to have a to do list and get busy working on a project and then see it to completion than it is to deal with people the way God does!
Argh! Ouch! Head lowered in shame as I think of my many, many failures to truly serve God when I thought I was.
But, God is so gracious! He is so full of mercy and patience and love towards me! He didn’t give up on me. He kept giving me chances to ‘see’ and ‘get in alignment’ and ‘do it His way’.
Whew, I am really slow to learn and hard-headed! And I am sure that today is not the beginning of perfection, hahaha!
Perfection is the problem, not the solution. Seeking perfection in this world will lead to this wrong way of serving God. Because we are dealing with imperfect humans when we serve and we Christians are imperfect humans! Yes, I know Jesus said to “be perfect”. But he didn’t say ‘expect others to be perfect’.
If we only serve those who we expect to respond in a certain way, we will always be disappointed. We must serve without expectation.
So the focus of my Christian living has to change. My job is an on-going project with no completion date! The worst for someone who feels happy when something is DONE! But if I look at my life as service, not a project, I can learn to accept the seeming lack of results and leave that up to GOD.
I know of many wonderful Christian servants. I just never understood how they did it, until now. Because I had it all wrong. I rejected many opportunities to serve because they seemed pointless, as in I didn’t see the results. I had to realize that sometimes the results won’t be seen until years later!
The goal is not to fix people or rescue them from their circumstances, even though part of our serving may include relieving various needs or providing food, clothing, shelter, etc. to people who may not even know God or care about knowing Him at that moment. I have to leave that up to God.
Our goal is simply to serve them, by Christ’s example, with no hope or expectation that they will change or return the favor. And leave the fixing, and salvation, to Jesus.
God is the only one who can save them. All we can do is show them what He did for us and how it changed us.
You can FIX DINNER, but you SERVE A MEAL
A little example of how God is working in my life: Cooking. I have a big family and I have prepared meals almost daily for 30 years for a husband and 5 boys who eat a lot.
Eating is required. Cooking is not. I know women who don’t cook at all! Don’t ask me how they do it, because I don’t know.
After many years, I started to resent all this cooking. Why? Well, for one, my own selfish heart gets lazy. But also because I felt unappreciated. Sometimes they didn’t like what I spent an hour making. Many times none of the kids would even acknowledge my work, but my husband is pretty good about that.
Talking to other moms, okay complaining with other moms, we often commiserate about all this cooking. In fact, there’s a joke about “Why do they have to eat every single day???”. But really we moms have to be careful not to water those seeds of resentment that Satan loves to scatter in our fertile minds.
But God has worked in my heart about this. He showed me that to my sons and my husband, my cooking for them is LOVE. When I don’t cook or I complain or act resentful about it, I am telling them they are not important to me. This may be different in your family. But in my family, providing FOOD to them has been one of my main ways of serving them all their lives. So I can’t just stop. They need this from mom even though they are getting older and often don’t even eat at home.
So I am going to keep cooking for them and baking and buying them food treats and all that. Because this is one way I can show love to them. And that is what serving is all about. And now I understand why my mom did it for me.
The one person I never resent serving is my daughter Grace. I know she can offer me nothing in return. I just love her. I think that is what God has been trying to tell me for all these years.
Grace. Give freely, expecting nothing in return, and leave the rest to God.
God bless you, friends. Thanks for reading.