Monday, May 13, 2013

Discipline of Service

Have you ever considered what the role of intimacy plays in serving others?

I hadn't really considered it until starting to study the spiritual disciplines. As with all the disciplines intimacy is that factor that takes our efforts from a "to-do" list for the Christian life to being something that changes us. When intimacy motivates us it changes our focus from checking things off our mental list to an inward drive that we cannot help but submit to.

Consider your most intimate relationships, your husband, children or best friend. A to-do list is not your motivation to talk to them daily, spend time with them or serve them. You need not ponder long on what you should do for them on a given day, you just know. You are moved by the power of your connection to them, not because you "should".

When we are intimate with God, we have a connection to him that draws us naturally closer to his children. We love others because we love him. We serve others because we love him.

Often our intimacy with God and others reflects in how we serve each other, especially in moments of crisis. Moments of crisis are those times when we find ourselves vulnerable and often frustrated. We may feel overwhelmed, anxious and panicky. So do others. These moments allow for God to show himself through the service of others, when we both accept the leading he offers and accept the service of others.

When we serve and allow ourselves to be served in these moments we can find that we draw near to God and his people. Have you found that to be true?

Here are some friends that shared their experience with service:

Brook said, "When I lost my voice after thyroid removal surgery. Literally people I'd never met watched my dog for a few nights, people that I NEVER spoke with anymore contacted me through facebook with person stories/information and being able to physically feel the prayers of people was powerful. You just feel it almost in a physical way.

Amy said, " I miscarried at home while I was caring for my then 18 month old. It came on so suddenly and forcefully! I called my neighbor, a nurse, who immediately ran over to help care for my kid and tackle my immediate medical needs. I think it would have been more than I could bear at that moment to keep my head in the crisis, alone, all while dealing with the heartache. I am forever grateful to her."

Erin said, "When my father's condition in ICU suddenly turned even further south at midnight, I remembered my friend saying, "you know I'm your middle of the night friend, right?" I KNEW I could call her to come to my aid at any time. She rushed right over, stayed with my kids through the night and took them to church for me the next AM. I was able to be with my family right after and for unlimited, non rushed time for hours after his death. I also had another friend take my kids, and constantly let me know she was in no rush to return them to me for the days he was in ICU before his death. This is time I could never have gotten back, had I missed it for caring for my children. My friends are such a blessing to me!"

Jennifer said, "When I had PPD, I had one of my mentors show up at my door and force me to take a nap while she watched my baby. I didn't know how to accept help. Her persistence in that moment made me realize that there are times when you absolutely have to admit weakness and accept help. I have learned through paying-it-forward that when you are the one serving that you receive the bigger blessing. It makes me sad to think how many blessings I denied those who wanted to serve me in the past."

Misty said, "In our first year of marriage I was diagnosed with Graves' disease. I took iodine radiation to destroy my thyroid. Immediately I spiraled downhill. I was so weak and tired. Had lots of muscle spasms. I could barely get out of bed. My wonderful husband served and showed more compassion than I have ever experienced. He worked and yet came home during the day to make sure I was okay and eating. Most of the time I was sleeping when he would get home from work..he would make dinner and wake me to eat. Jody made sure I had everything i needed and more. I don't know what I would have done without him. God gave me the most amazing man that took his wedding vows seriously."

Cyndi said, "I have many dear friends who have been there for us.. In 2009, we had no income due to the financial crunch... One sweet friend wanted to pamper me.... She offered me a day of pampering: a haircut, mani/pedicure. She offered to give me $100... But said it had to be used frivolously. Then she decided to use gift certificates"

 1 Peter 4:10 says, "Each of you should use whatever gift he has been given, by doing so you are administering grace in its various forms.  If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do it with the strength God provides so that  in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ." 

God uses service to administer grace to his children. Service is no small thing.

Have you ever been served, especially in a moment of crisis? Did it draw you closer to God in that moment of vulnerability? What role has service on your behalf done for 
your relationship with him? 

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