Friday, July 6, 2018

Devotionals for the Heart: Service

On Service
A devotional by Lisa Lickel

“If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.” – John 13:14-15 (ESV)

Before I moved to a new community last fall, I had volunteered for a number of years, driving people to medical appointments or shopping, or helping service organizations or non-profits with bookwork, cleaning, and the like. I helped out with secretarial duties at our church. I enjoyed those activities; they felt like service. But I realize service shouldn’t be relegated to volunteer activities.

The example Jesus gives is for everyday life. To me, in my modern lifestyle, that means actions of kindness like filling the car with gas, washing dishes or laundry, making the bed, taking care of the yard, or cleaning the bathroom. It’s not a matter of your job/my job. It’s a matter of “ought to.” It’s a matter of giving way or giving in to each other. It’s a matter of outdoing each other with showing honor (Romans 12:10, ESV).

A Christian discipline of service rises from gratitude, not from authority. It is seeing a need and meeting it, not forcing “help” on someone just because it would be easier or faster if I performed the task. It is patience, not self-righteousness, never self-serving. Service is Christian humbleness. “When we choose to be a servant, we give up the right to be in charge,” Richard Foster says in Celebration of Discipline. “There is great freedom in this.” Amen! When we allow others to direct our efforts we surrender any form of ulterior motive for service. We might even allow others the dignity of seeing their own mistakes and correct them without needing to point it out.

There is great joy in loving Christ so much that it spills all around me. I can’t help but stop and be that third temporary hand, the one who picks up dishes so the conversation can continue, who changes the diaper, who lends a ride, who gives a drink when asked, to shut up and listen. I don’t pretend to hear every internal cry. I haven’t yet done more than meet my own need to volunteer in two areas I love in my new community.

Some days I’m still growly and grumpy when things don’t go my way. I’m unhappy when I don’t feel appreciated. In every sunset, every hymn, every blooming wild geranium, the Lord breaks through and reminds me that life isn’t about me. I’m released from the cage of narrow vision, of narrow-mindedness in which I’ve locked myself. I don’t have to be the greatest (Luke 9:46, ESV) and I can allow myself to be used as the servant of all (Mark 9:35, ESV).

My Prayer: Lord Jesus, as it would please you, bring me someone today whom I can serve.

Author Bio: 
Lisa Lickel is a Wisconsin writer who lives in the rolling hills of western Wisconsin. 

A multi-published and award-winning novelist, she also writes short stories and radio theater, is an avid book reviewer, blogger, a freelance editor, and workshop leader. 

She is a member of Chicago Writers Association and part of Novel-in-Progress Bookcamp and Writing Retreat, Inc., mentoring writers from across the US and Canada. 

Connect with Lisa:
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