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Service with a Smiling Heart
By Dawn Mast
Thursday, June 1, 2017
“You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature, rather serve one another in love.” Galatians 5:13 NIV
The work was hard. And there was a lot of it. However, in the sweltering heat you could find groups of teens around town working.
They were teaching Summer Bible School, painting buildings, washing the windows of a nearby nursing home, unloading donated items at our local crisis pregnancy center and helping to clean and renovate a building to be used as a ministry for victims of human trafficking.
At the end of this week of hard work we noticed one thing in the photos; these 200 plus teens were smiling as they worked. Big, happy smiles. Sweaty, but smiling.
Service can be hard physically, but it builds our character and grows our relationship to the Lord.
The Hebrew word for service is Avodah and means, "work, worship." This word meaning is not accidental. We bless and honor the Lord with our service.
These local teens were serving well even though they were certainly hot, tired and had some very sore muscles. They were the embodiment of 1 Timothy 3:13, NIV, “Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Jesus Christ.”
Serving well is not easy some days, but we do have a calling to serve for the glory of God no matter our circumstances.
Or our emotions. That's when things get tricky, right?
Sometimes I need to remind myself of those hard working teens in our town because my attitude could definitely use some tweaking.
Just the other day, I was doing my usual routine of serving our family of 6. There is laundry to wash, food to purchase and prepare, dogs to walk and feed, bills to pay and a van that needs to go back and forth to school to pick up children.
Then the evenings are busy with homework, housework and church activities. If my husband has a meeting at the hospital, the majority of responsibilities fall to me. I have some days when I, um, grumble. It's not at all spiritual or even remotely Christ-like, but there it is.
This particular day was full of grumbling. As if I had stocked up at Costco on grumbles. Did I have a right to complain about my frustrations? Maybe, but by doing so, often and loudly, I wasn't, "serving well".
There is another sweet reminder in Galatians 5:13b, "rather serve one another in love." When there is grumbling, complaining or doing something with the wrong attitude (manipulation, passive aggressiveness,...) it's not being done in love.
No matter my actions on that grumbling day, my heart wasn't being loving. I really needed to ask God to turn it around to Him so I could genuinely serve in love and grace. When there is grace there is not room for griping.
I still think about those hundreds of teens and what they do every summer. The way they serve in the heat with their hands and hearts is so lovely, but their smiles and lack of complaining is really a deep blessing.
Our community, and certainly the Lord, has been served in love and it shows.
Our hearts and facial expressions sometimes don't line up. We may be happy on the inside, but if we are tired or hungry our faces may portray a different image. If you are feeling unhappy about serving, take a moment and ask God to change your heart and your outside. Even if you smile, your heart may just catch up to your outward appearance. Serve with a grateful heart and the Heavenly Father will honor your effort.
Father God, serving others is fun, festive and....exhausting! Please help me to serve others in a way that brings You glory and honor. I want to serve You and seek the way You want to use my gifts to serve others, but I do sometimes get weary. Please show me how You want me to serve and give me the energy, grace and encouragement to do Your work here on earth. Thank You for the good gifts you give! Help me to use them for Your glory! Amen!
© 2017 by Dawn Mast. All rights reserved.
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