Serving others seems like it would be such an easy core value to adopt, until it becomes inconvenient, lowers the expectations of where we will be perceived to fit into society’s tiers or we apply it to our marriages.
There are millions of people around the world who are serving others on a daily basis with no award that will be given, no spotlight, and in many cases no thanks. Think about the family whose great joy in awaiting a child is then faced with significant health issues to care for every day or the son who gently guides his mother through a day of confusion and fear trapped inside the drama of Alzheimer’s. These are the heroes of life who have chosen to serve and often wind up paying physical health prices themselves. And yet you hear so many stories told with smiles and tears of the unexpected blessings that occur in the midst of great sacrifice. I remember as a teenager my Mother explaining the real depth of love and commitment to me by posing the question of what would I do if my spouse was injured in war in a way that removed the ability to express love? Would I leave him or fulfill my vow? Nothing like a dose of what life’s reality can include to get you to think about what real service means in a marriage….and true love.
Many of us will espouse the desire to be servants as we picture moments of appreciation before a clapping crowd or beautifully authored thank you notes arriving at our home or jammed email boxes and Facebook likes for what we have done. That pesky visitor called “ego” comes to visit, and it’s our job to ensure that he doesn’t take up residence.
My alma mater’s motto is “not to be served but to serve.” I have found myself in the midst of having prayers answered and great blessings received losing sight of those gifts when it’s not exactly what I meant. Yet, clearly my mission is to be of assistance to others in those particular circumstances, and I was placed there for a reason. Serving does not necessarily mean being appreciated, thanked, or being thrilled in the moment. It IS about answering your calling, doing so with recognition that it is a privilege to serve, and that the most challenging assignments are the biggest compliments you could receive, whether anyone else knows it or not…..It’s not about you.
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