Service is a keystone of faith. It is that practical offering of love that comes from deep inside that displays to the world just how much character our faith has placed within us. Service is a test of character and faith.
Community and family life give us wonderful opportunities to learn the gracious art of service. They are wonderful places to learn how to work for others without expectation or to develop the character it takes to help others in need selflessly.
Once I worked for a doctor, and he told me how much he hated it when people said, “Thank you for your service.” He told me privately, “I am not here to serve them. I am here to enlighten people about their medical needs.”
I was dumbfounded. Shocked even! Doctors, above all professions, are in the business to serve; or they should be. Now I am speaking idealistically. In the real world, many become doctors just for the money and status. But the truth is they end up serving, serving, serving. It is the nature of the calling. And I believe the most successful doctors–or people of any profession–are the ones who truly serve humanity.
That kind of service blossoms into something rewarding and fruitful.
There is something the Lord has been showing me lately about my own service. I have never minded offering to do a job for someone else–reaching out to a friend or stranger in need without payment or thought of monetary reimbursement. But the Lord has been revealing to me that I have had qualifications too. Maybe I don’t desire payment for a service rendered to a brother or sister in need, but I do expect and deeply desire gratitude.
And I am really put off if I don’t receive it.
My “service” is as qualified as the doctor who didn’t want to serve at all–just enlighten…
Service always comes down to this: My motivation must be rooted in loving God. When it is dependent upon feeling love for others in need, then it becomes qualified. There will always be disappointment when I serve others because of their need or my love for them. In the end, they may not thank me or turn toward God or react in the way I want.
Their reaction to my service causes me to withdraw–become sorry that I offered help. Jesus is always my example, and He knows something about ingratitude and can identify with the pain of it.
Service is a reflection of the heart. It is a sign to the world that we love God, that He is real, and that we love each other. But it must be unqualified, motivated by pleasing God alone, and completely without expectation.
Even as I am writing this, I see just how short I have fallen in my offerings of service to others, because it has been given with great expectation–not of money rather of gratitude.
With that said, I am thankful for a clean slate and the hope of new motivation the next time someone comes knocking on my door needing a helping hand…