When you decide to serve, do you serve because you have to or because you want to? Two very different answers will show themselves depending on the heart of the individual being asked. If you serve to fulfill a requirement you are far less likely to enjoy the task that has been set before you. If you are serving out a want or love then the heart you put into your service can grow beyond the basic needs set before you. You jump at the tasks you’re given and you genuinely enjoy helping where you can. The direction we chose to serve changes our heart attitude.
How does this service dynamic work in relationship to God’s kingdom and His children?
A heart that wants and loves serving can display the full love of God in a much different way than a heart that serves merely out of requirement. Being called to serve in each of those situations is much different as I’ve already illustrated.
If, for example, you hate your job do you put in 100% every day? No, you usually don’t. You preform at a mediocre level in order to get by, skate past the requirements and at least don’t get fired. Well we’ve all been there at one time or another and hated doing something that we were asked to do.
Have you ever had a job that you loved? I won’t go into an illustration of this, but if you have found that dream job, how do you perform every day? It’s a treat to get up in the morning and get to work to do you job.
“Are We Done, Yet?” Syndrome
I know when my wife asks me to go “antiquing” I’m less than enthusiastic about getting off the couch and walking around an old, dingy building for a few hours. However, if she were to say we need to buy a new TV I’m leaping to my feet to be right there next to her. Why? Because there are things that I enjoy and those that I don’t. Simple, right? Well, in serving the same coin gets flipped and it will sometimes land on tails. That’s when we’re forced to do something that we don’t generally want to do. How do we combat that feeling of “I don’t want to be here” when we are serving God?
We combat it by turning to God and asking for the help (wisdom, strength, or perseverance) to overcome those feelings. Then we can look at the situation we are in and know the real reason we are serving, whether that be out of a selfish pride, or out of His love?
Back to the example of my wife and antiquing. I try to see it from her perspective, because she loves antiquing and finding a treasure in a room full of other lesser treasures. On the same side of that coin she enjoys spending time with me while she is in pursuit of those treasures. If during that time I seem disinterested then it will show and she might not enjoy herself as much as she could have. So in those moments I ask God to grant me the patience and love I need to see this time from my wife’s perspective so that she can find joy.
Don’t get me wrong you can’t live by this creed all the time, but you would be surprised by the outcome when you ask God to grant you the very thing you need out of a humble heart. I could be a complete jerk and stay home all the time or sulk about having to walk around a smelly building all day, but I genuinely love my wife and want to see her happy. However, what allows me to truly go the extra miles is God’s love being poured out through me towards my wife. Despite my own love of her it’s not nearly as big as His love for her and while I may fail at times (or all the time) she knows that my love is solidified in God’s love. All that combined allows me to care for her and bless her with the things that she enjoys the most, not all of which include antiquing.
My wife also knows that I need time to recharge my batteries and dwell with My Father alone. Usually I prefer to sit in a quiet corner of a noisy coffeehouse, on the patio, or simply writing in my notebook on the couch. My wife knows that I need those moments so she accepts those when they come because she wants the best of me, not the left over pieces where I’m worn out.
For God as well He wants the best of us, not the scraps. He wants us strong, rejuvenated, and ready to move with Him. A healthy servant looks at the command to serve as part of God’s plan for them. A plan to prosper them. Serving allows us to show the transformation that He has made in our lives to the world around us. If you don’t feel that joy in service anymore, then I encourage you to stop, drop, and pray that He will bring you back to the point of experiencing that joy in your life with Him. If we ask then He will provide.