Sometimes we struggle to truly be of service to others, don’t we? We can get so caught up in our own little world, our own particular needs or circumstances, that we just become – well, selfish.
But even when we begin to really re-focus on loving others and in so doing, serving them (first, before ourselves), we can find that we get discouraged. We find ourselves at times thinking that we need to do something bigger….better….that the small things we have to offer just aren’t enough.
I find that this usually occurs for one of two main reasons for me:
1 – When I discover that I am not really serving from the heart – This is when I am serving just to serve, and pretty much means that a serious heart check is in order. This means that I am either trying too hard – to do it in my own power, or my heart has grown partially cold and I am not serving out of real love and need God to do a work within me to change that. That’s when it’s time to pray and ask for Him to “renew a right spirit” within me.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Psalm 51:10
2 – I am not paying attention to the fact that often, the greatest ways to serve others comes through the “little things.” The thankless things, the smaller things, the things that don’t make a huge impact for the whole world to see? Those things characterized much of Christ’s life and behaviors as He walked this earth. This is our role model for what it truly is to be a real servant friends – Jesus. And Jesus is into the small stuff that matters big.
“And whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:44-45 ESV
Lately, the second category has been more the one that has caused me to feel I am failing to serve others the way Christ would want for me to. And it has dawned on me today, that sometimes, it’s good for us to take a moment to pay attention to the ways we can defer to others or put them first that are “small” yet powerful!
I did lots of things today that I discounted as acts of service while I was doing them, but now that I look back and reflect, the Lord is putting it on my heart strongly that I should not let the enemy make me feel like I am not a light in this world. Are you finding yourself in that boat today as well?
See, I don’t think we should “count up” all that we do as some sort of tally or way to feel good about ourselves – or as some type of way to feel like we met our serving quota for the day – not at all. But if we are feeling discouraged, it can often be a really good exercise for us to check in with the Lord, and in so doing, we can then rejoice in the fact that He will and IS using us to be lights to others in this world – something the enemy would love for us to not realize or minimize completely.
Sometimes I make a list of things I am grateful for if I am struggling in that area and becoming self absorbed. But today, I shall make a list of very small things that we can do, and may already be doing consistently that show we esteem others, love them, and show Jesus to people with whom we interact.
If you, like me, have been subject to the enemy’s tauntings regarding this, maybe this would help you too – making a list of the small things you do or want to do for others – and then praising God that He is doing this through you. It matters – it matters to Him, and it should matter to us.
Nothing is too small. As long as it’s done with a BIG and God-filled heart!
Opening a door for someone
Smiling every time you enter a room
Making eye contact with everyone
Saying “hello” like you mean it!
Complimenting someone on something specific
Remembering something special someone shared and asking about it
Letting someone go before you in line
Moving out of the way in traffic for someone to get by
Asking someone “is there anything I can do to help” and meaning it!
Showing interest in something someone is talking about
Telling someone something specific you learned from them
Offering to go last (or first if someone is shy)
Specifically asking for a person’s opinion or thoughts on something
There is freedom in being someone who has a servant heart – it’s Jesus freedom, friends. This kind of “slavery” is the only kind that truly sets us free. Service through an attitude and heart of real love – that agape kind of love – makes us more like Jesus, and more importantly, shows Him clearly to others in our world. That is power unleashed, for sure and we should notice it and keep on doing it by His power, through His grace, and all for His glory!
Be free in Christ today and help someone else feel that same freedom by making all the little things you do truly count for Him. Make the small stuff matter big – just as Jesus does. And find true freedom, true love, true joy, and true peace.
For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:13-14 ESV