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Sunday, March 11, 2007

Spend Yourself

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

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16 Comments:

Blogger Denise said...

This was so awesome, thank you. We do need to look outward, not inward. We need to help others with a willing, and caring heart.

March 12, 2007 at 12:08 AM  
Blogger Jane said...

Thanks Kelly for this wonderful reminder and challenge to serve, all too often we get caught up in our own little worlds and we miss out if we don't serve.....there is such joy in serving. Great suggestions.

March 12, 2007 at 3:04 AM  
Blogger Linda said...

Hey, Kelly. Words about service always pierce me because it is so opposite my natural inclination. It's so bad that not only do I reluctantly serve sometimes, but I also I completely miss seeing the need unless someone else points it out to me! Thanks.

March 12, 2007 at 7:00 AM  
Blogger janiswrites said...

This is beautiful, Kelly. Serving others is showing Christ's love to others. I like to think of it as putting hands and feet on His love. Without us putting action into His love, many people will never be able to see His love for themselves. The ideas that you gave are great. I am going to try to think of some for my family. Blessings!

March 12, 2007 at 8:51 AM  
Blogger Christine said...

In the busyness of life with littles our "service" as a family has not gotten the attention that it deserves. It is a desire of my heart that I have ignored in the face of the "tyranny of the urgent". Thanks for these suggestions and the motivation to get out there and serve.

March 12, 2007 at 10:06 AM  
Blogger Darlene said...

That's an awesome reminder, Kelly. I remember sitting through a service once thinking that my baby was sleeping in the nursery the whole time. Afterward I found out that a friend had told them, "Let's give her a break, if the baby is crying, come and get me."

These acts of servanthood really reflect the love of God in our lives.

March 12, 2007 at 10:47 AM  
Blogger Laurel Wreath said...

This is beautiful, and one thing the Lord has really taught me is during times of depression and worry...serve. It is the cure all.

And the story of your brother was warm and awesome.

Blessings.

March 12, 2007 at 11:32 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Kelly-

I love what you said about service not being required for our salvation but that it is a result from the pouring over of a heart that has been transformed by the grace extended us. I tend to think of it as being so filled with God's love that we have to put the overflow somewhere so we let that love over flow onto others. Thank you so much for this eloquent reminder!

Jennifer

March 12, 2007 at 3:27 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Kelly,
I agree with Laurel, when I am facing difficulties, this is the time to serve and give to others.

Thanks for the reminder today!

March 12, 2007 at 3:52 PM  
Blogger Laurie said...

Kelly,
Thanks for sharing that wonderful story about your brother. Your post reminded me (our church is in the middle of Missions Month) that we should always be open to those "outside" opportunities to help others, even if they interrupt the days schedule. Especially the interruptions with other people's children!

March 12, 2007 at 4:48 PM  
Blogger Susie said...

What a wonderful post Kelly. I think this is the area of my Christian walk that I struggle with the most. It is so easy for me to serve my family and my friends, but much harder to help a total stranger. Thank you for this great reminder to think of others.

March 12, 2007 at 7:12 PM  
Blogger Elise said...

We definitely strive for this, Kelly - thank you for reinforcing the importance with the story of your brother! I was moved to tears, inspired to try harder.
We are not so creative, but we visit the nursing home regularly, paint the elderly neighbors fence, take meals, etc. We can do so much more, though! Again, thank you for the reminder!

March 12, 2007 at 10:57 PM  
Blogger Carol said...

There are countless opportunities to serve in our communities, not to mention around the world as your brother did. It's easy for me to take on too many of those tasks, get burned out, then be of no use to anyone.

What's been working better for me is to ask God to lay on my heart where He wants me to serve, to clear my time for that service and to give me Jesus' heart for those people. Then I have to actually listen for His call rather than spend time and energy lining up my excuses.

He's called me to some crazy jobs in the past. And I've been blessed by each one of them!

I love this post!!

March 13, 2007 at 9:22 AM  
Blogger Kim said...

This reminds me of when Jesus served the disciples by washing their feet...when no one else would. He showed them that being a servant is a way of life. It should be for us as well. Gos has really been working on me in this area...to be a servant daily...to my husband, my children,and others. And to do it joyfully.

Excellent post,Kelly!

March 13, 2007 at 2:39 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Kelly--I am selfish, too. . . .

I love your practical suggestions at the end.

March 14, 2007 at 7:03 AM  
Anonymous eph2810 said...

Thank you, Kelly for the reminder that He also wants us to serve as He has served His disciples. I have done many things around the church. Now I mostly try to shine His light at my workplace in helping out where ever I can. And I am trying to be the best wife I can be with His help.

March 16, 2007 at 1:35 AM  

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