Serving simply stated

Joshua helps Addy with her shoes.Usually when I brainstorm for my blog I think BIG. I want to write about something important, something critical, and something helpful to a great many people. I don’t want to be *just* another blogger…I want to touch people with my writing…to reach people’s hearts…to give a part of myself through my writing. The problem with this is that it keeps my focus too narrow and I miss the opportunities to write about small things….and that’s sad because small things are important, too.

Enjoy the little things in life….one day you will look back and realize they were the big things.

Some people look at serving the same way I look at blogging…they look for BIG ways to serve…but what is often needed are lots of small acts. We want to do BIG things. We want to shine. We want to make our mark in the world. Often we get caught up looking for BIG ways to serve and we fail to serve in all the little ways that are needed. Service isn’t always big, it isn’t always public, it doesn’t come with a guidebook, and it certainly isn’t always convenient; it often involves a sacrifice. Service isn’t clearly identified under the headline MINISTRY with specifics and titles and guidebooks. Sometimes, often when they are thinking of particular types of service beyond their home, young mothers worry that they are not serving enough. In reality, the growing demands of a family usually keep an attentive wife and mother serving in abundance! Sometimes, in our zeal to serve in some “official” capacity, we fail to recognize all the ways we are actually already serving! Serving is not really a great mystery or a complicated issue – serving is simply ministering to others by offering help in various forms.

  • No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another. ~ Charles Dickens
  • I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do. ~Edward Everett Hale
  • If you have much, give of your wealth; if you have little, give of your heart. ~Arabian Proverb
  • How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a naughty world.~ William Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice

Why do we serve? We serve to glorify God, because we love God and we love our fellow man, and because —  in serving our fellow man — we are serving our Father in heaven!

You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.( Matthew 5:13-16)

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. (John 14:6)

Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2)

Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry, and ye gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in; naked, and ye clothed me; I was sick, and ye visited me; I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee hungry, and fed thee? or athirst, and gave thee drink? And when saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? And when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of these my brethren, even these least, ye did it unto me. (Matthew 25:34-40)

Who do we serve? Anyone who needs it! We start with God’s family and move out from there. Everyone needs to be served at some point or another. The elderly, the middle aged, the youth, the children. This world is full of people with needs …

And let us not be weary in well-doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. So then, as we have opportunity, let us work that which is good toward all men, and especially toward them that are of the household of the faith. (Galatians 6:9-10)

How do we serve? There are a variety of ways to serve and endless opportunities to share your time and energy to help others. The best place to start is to know your strengths and weaknesses. While it is true that we often need to step outside our comfort zones to grow, it is also true that we need to serve with the talents and gifts that God has given us. We are so much more effective when we share our talents and let others share their talents. Different talents and circumstances provide different opportunities to serve. It is truly beautiful the way that God’s family works together…there is a place for everyone…so many needs to be filled…so many gifts and talents to fill those needs. Find out what your gifts are and use them to God’s glory!

Above all things being fervent in your love among yourselves; for love covereth a multitude of sins: using hospitality one to another without murmuring: according as each hath received a gift, ministering it among yourselves, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God; if any man speaketh, speaking as it were oracles of God; if any man ministereth, ministering as of the strength which God supplieth: that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, whose is the glory and the dominion forever and ever. (I Peter 4:8-11)

What does service really look like? Serving, simply put, is the act of helping or assisting. Ministering is to attend to needs or to provide. Opportunities abound – some are obvious, such as long term commitments like adoption, taking in an elderly family member or a single mother – other opportunities for service can be short term. Acts of service are often many layered and include many ways of ministering to others. Here are some ways we serve in our daily lives:

Serving in family life—A wife and mother ministers to her husband and children daily. Godly wives do this every day when they take care of the needs of a growing family: doing laundry, cleaning, preparing food, teaching, training, guiding. Efforts that are often considered mundane are some of the many ways that wives and mothers serve their families. There is nothing mundane about a homemaker’s love in action! There are so many ways that wives and mothers serve that this small paragraph in this blog could not possibly address them all!

Serving in hospitality—Serving strangers and friends in our home is one of the ways we minister to others. We serve others when we open our home to them and provide meals, lodging and a haven from the world. Opening our home in various capacities also provides other opportunities to serve – in teaching, giving and friendship!

Serving in friendship—Ministering to friends is to provide a listening ear, to advise them, to comfort and aid them. Serving friends is often an extension of our love for them. Building friendships is a way to minister to people of all walks of life. Nurturing friendships provides continuous opportunities to serve!

Serving in teaching—Ministering to others by teaching is a way to bless others spiritually. Older women are to teach younger women to love their husbands and children, the spiritual are to teach the weak. There are many ways to minister to others by teaching them – encouraging, edifying and sharing the most important gift we have – the gospel of Christ!

Serving in giving—Ministering to others by giving can include many of the things mentioned above that include giving of one’s time and energy. Serving by giving can be a good way for a busy young mother to serve while still being home with her family. A mom at home can give of her time to babysit children in a pinch, share baked goods and meals, make calls and write letters. Serving by giving can also include giving of one’s means. We are told that we are to give to those in need. Serving by giving of their material wealth is a way to bless others for those with limited time and energy.

Serving the community—Branching out into the community is a way to do good to all men. Volunteering in any capacity needed in a plethora of programs is a way to minister to people in all walks of life. In addition to the many programs that exist for those in need, there are many people with similar needs who, for whatever reason, don’t participate in these programs. Just like other acts of service, serving in the community isn’t only done officially. For every child who participates in the local Big Brother/Big Sister program, there is a latch-key kid who would benefit from your attention!

Serving pro bonoJust because your professional talents may merit payment certainly doesn’t mean that you must seek payment every time you use them. There are many people who would benefit from your talents that cannot afford to pay for them. Are you a seamstress? Make a dress for a little girl who doesn’t have many. Are you a techie? Fix computers or build websites for someone who can’t afford to pay. Are you a musician? Teach someone’s child to play an instrument! Are you an athlete? Coach a local team or act as a personal trainer. Are you good with children? Offer to babysit in a pinch. Are you a writer? Proofread for students. Bless others with your talents!

There is a whole world of people with needs – start in your own home and build upon that foundation. Mothers, minister to your family…this is your opportunity to serve and you are teaching your children to serve by your good example and as they participate in various ways! Don’t ever discount the good works you are doing as a wife and mother! Perhaps you are a young mom, knee-deep in serving your husband and little ones; you are doing a good work! Perhaps you are an older mom, knee-deep in serving your teenagers; you are doing a good work! Perhaps, whatever the season of your life, you recognize that you could do more? Think outside the box and serve using the gifts with which God has blessed you!

When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world.

I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation.

When I found I couldn’t change the nation, I began to focus on my town. I couldn’t change the town and as an older man, I tried to change my family.

Now, as an old man, I realize the only thing I can change is myself, and suddenly I realize that if long ago I had changed myself, I could have made an impact on my family.

My family and I could have made an impact on our town. Their impact could have changed the nation and I could indeed have changed the world. —Written by an unknown Monk around 1100 A.D.

Category: Musings
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