Sunday, October 10, 2010

Acts of Service

During college, I had a job as a server…otherwise known as waitress. I didn’t know how to cook the food, I didn’t tell people what to order, I simply interceded on their behalf. I asked what their need was, I told the person who could meet that need, and then I delivered the answer to that need. It wasn’t about me. In fact, aren’t the best restaurant servers the ones you don’t really notice at all? They don’t interrupt your conversation, they don’t let your glasses get empty, and they don’t leave you wondering where they are. You couldn’t pick them out of a crowd the next day but they are always there right when you need them, eager to serve.

Now, serving others doesn’t come naturally apart from God. When there’s something in it for us (like tips), when it fits easily into our schedule, when we’re getting the credit…serving is easy. But when it requires something more of us…our time, our money, and there’s nothing in it for us….not so much. Ever since the fall of man, it’s been hard. And at this point, you might be tempted to think, I’m going to buckle down and do more. I’m going to volunteer for this or that. But then you might be missing the point. Service isn’t just volunteering at every opportunity. It isn’t about doing really at all. It’s a matter of the heart.

Read Mark 12:28-31. What does Jesus say are the two most important commands?

One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that
Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, "Of all the commandments,
which is the most important?" "The most important one," answered Jesus, "is
this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God
with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all
your strength.’ The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is
no commandment greater than these."

See anything in there about how important you are? See anything about “looking out for number 1”? Loving God is serving God and serving God is loving God. Augustine put it this way, “Love God, and do what you want.” If we truly love God, service will be a natural outpouring. We willingly and selflessly serve those we love. Service, if not done out of love for God, is not even service, it is our own self-righteousness. Look at what the Bible says about our righteous acts in Isaiah 64:6:

All of us have become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags

One of the best examples of loving God and serving is brother Lawrence. Brother Lawrence was a monk in the 1600’s known for his closeness to God. He wasn’t famous for his service, though a true servant he was. In fact, he worked in the kitchen for most of his life and repaired sandals in his later years. He was known for his love of God. In a book compiling some of his letters and conversations, the practice of the presence OF GOD, brother Lawrence said, – “Never tire of even doing the smallest things for Him, because He isn’t impressed so much with the dimensions of our work as with the love in which it is done.” I love that!

Are you starting to see how rich this story is? Adam was created to serve. We were created to serve. And what are the prerequisites for the job? Loving God. As we work through this story together, my prayer is that we will grow in our desire to study God’s word so that we may know Him and love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Next post we will move forward in our story and look at what happens when things start to unravel.


The Mom said...

Am loving following along with you during this study! Blessings to you, dear one...

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you're finally putting this down for the world to see. GREAT POST! Love you!
Ashley Smith

Jason said...

Great post. Glad you are blogging again.