I am selfish. It is a reality that I am not proud of, but one I seek strength to overcome every day. Our society only feeds this natural, sinful inclination by encouraging us to focus on ourselves in about every way, ironically leading to continued emptiness and seeking of fulfillment through self-gratification. It is a vicious cycle. The irony is that to break the cycle, God calls us to look outward in service rather than being so focused on ourselves.
Several years ago, my brother spent a week serving at the Kalighat Home for the Dying in Calcutta, India--a hospital founded by Mother Teresa to give the dying, poor of Calcutta a place to be cared for. It was here that my brother would share that he learned what true service was. My brother was assigned a man to serve that week while he was there - feeding him, bathing him, and changing his diaper. The most precious time was spent, though, holding this man's hand and just being with him. Even though they did not speak the same language, the presence of Christ's love speaks powerfully. My brother had the special opportunity to serve "the least of these."
Most of us will never have an experience like that, but we are called to serve others where God has placed us. This service is not required for our salvation, but is the pouring out that results from a heart that has been transformed by the grace extended us.
For grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:8-10)Not only have I been challenged recently in my calling to good works, my husband and I are trying to look at more specific ways that our children and our family can serve. Children love to help and "be in on the action," so what better way to teach them to be selfless and kind than to be involved in regular, purposeful service to others.
So I challenge myself and you to look outward at how God might be calling you to serve others. We might not have money or resources, but we certainly have time, talents, and gifts that God has given us to be poured out to serve and bring glory to Him. We can "spend ourselves" in service.
So spend yourself:
- Rocking a newborn baby for a few hours, so the new mom at your church can get a much-needed nap or run to the bookstore by herself.
- Doing yard work for the elderly in your church or community.
- Reading books to children or tutoring at a local community center.
- Sending notes of encouragement.
- Delivering meals to shut-ins.
- Re-organizing the shelves at the food bank with your kids.
- Giving manicures at a nursing home.
- Inviting the little boy without a father on a fishing trip with your husband and son, for some "guy" time.
What are some creative ways you have found to serve others?
In Him . . . Kelly