“Let me reintroduce myself
As a man with a cause
I’ve had a lot of time to think and look at who
And I’ve got nothing left to say but we’ve gotta carry on
And I’ve got so much left to do but I’ll start with this song…”
-“Let’s Go”, Cartel
Why do you serve?
This is a question that the dream team leaders at church ask us fairly often. It may be phrased as a inquiry or as a directive: think about why you serve. See, it is quite easy to be a part of something bigger when that something bigger functions perfectly. When you get to own or wear something that signifies you as part of that something bigger. When, within that something bigger, you have formed smaller and more meaningful subgroups. That’s when it is easy to serve? But why you serve, why you choose to do this thing over and over again that really is NOT about you, that doesn’t earn you a gold star, really is a crucial question when things get tight. Why do you serve on the morning when you have to be up before sunrise and went to bed after midnight? Why do you serve when you just broke up with your significant other and you’d rather not plop a smile on your face and make nice? Why do you serve instead when your place of employment is offering overtime and you have more bills than take home pay and you could really use the time-and-a-half?
“So, I shook my fist at Heaven
Said, “God, why don’t You do something?”
He said, “I did, I created you” – “Do Something”, Matthew West
So often, I have wanted to apply that same rhetoric to other roles and responsibilities in my life and the lives of others, because I think that being restored to factory settings, not just “the joy of salvation” but also the joy of friendship, sisterhood/brotherhood, employment, etc is never a bad thing if it causes us to put down our cynicism and grab some gratitude. Do you see how the same logic applies?
It is easier to be a daughter when you and your parents see eye to eye, but why do you continue to be present when they are ailing or aging or simply being stubborn?
It is easier to be a friend when you hang all the time and the balance of effort feels equal, but why do you continue to be present when you can’t ever reach them and it feels like they have no time?
It is easier to be a teacher (OUCH) when your students are bright eyed, bushy tailed, positive and prepared, their parents are invested and the administration has your back, but why do you continue to be present when none of those things are true?
Why do you serve?
It is because you are a glutton for punishment? No.
Is it because you are stupid? No!
Is it because you are blissfully ignorant? NO!!
For those of us in the Body of Christ, the Bible gives a command in Colossians 3:23: “And whatsoever ye do , do it heartily , as to the Lord, and not unto men” (KJV) Another version in plainer language says “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as though you were working for the Lord and not for people.”
So why do we serve and teach and parent and befriend and all that other stuff? Because when we work for God, the whole game changes. Because living for God means that you are not bound by the whims of people who are fickle like us. If you are living for pats on the head from people as a measure of your worth, you will always feel worth a little less than you are.
We think of servitude as a bad thing, but I am reclaiming the word, making it serve-itude and using it to mean the way that we carry ourselves when we are in the thick of this thing that God is using us for. There is a quiet joy that comes from knowing that you are aligned with His purpose for your life and it is something that lack of sleep, caffeine, or anything else can temporarily flicker but NEVER blow out.
Next time someone is getting on your nerves and you really don’t understand what God had in mind when He placed you in this season, go somewhere calm, immerse yourself in His word, and I am willing to bet that a few pages worth of His redeeming love will also redeem your serve-itude.