Being of Service
by Jeff Montgomery
In his book The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren indicates that one of our primary purposes during our earthly life is to be of service. His point is that our first priority should be to serve God, and then to serve our brothers and sisters (which is also serving God).
Our busy lives sometime prevent us from being of service as much as we would like. Whether it is at work or at home, there always seem to be enough activities thrust our way to keep us busy until we drop into bed. If you're like me, you often get concerned that you're not doing enough in the realm of service, and that God may be a bit perturbed with me on my final day.
But I also think that our busy-ness keeps us from seeing the whole picture clearly. We may think that we're not doing enough to serve our fellow person or God, but in actuality we may be doing more than we think.
Since we discuss things that are work related here, let's take a look at our workplace. Most of us are very busy everyday. It starts when we arrive and keeps us jumping until we hit the road to head home. In many cases, the modern business practice of running 'lean and mean' means that we're doing the work of multiple people. It doesn't seem like there's any time for anything other than keeping our nose to the grindstone.
However, let's take a closer look. Instead of the big, gigantic ministry related activities, perhaps God graces us with some opportunities to do things in a small way. Mother Teresa once said 'do small things with great love', and I think that applies in our society. It's not so much how 'big' the act is, as much as it is how 'big' your heart is in doing it.
Every time you hold or open the door for someone, you perform one of these little acts. Each time you refill the coffee pot when it's low, you're being of service because you're easing life a little bit for the next person. Whenever you respond to a question with charity and patience, you're exhibiting Christ's love.
If you really look closely, you may find any number of areas that you're already being of service, and don't even know it. Responding to requests from customers with a good attitude, going the extra mile to fulfill a request from a customer or coworker, or taking a moment to lend a hand to a coworker are all examples of how to serve others.
Many times when we think of being of service, we think it has to be by working in a food pantry, housing the homeless, ministering to the sick, or some other very visible sign of service. And these are all very honorable and necessary things, to be sure.
However, God sees everything that we do, no matter how big or small, and he wants to know what's in our hearts when we're doing these things. Doing a small thing with a bad attitude is as reprehensible to Him as doing a big thing with a bad attitude.
The interesting thing is that when we do these small things, not only do we make someone else's world better, we also improve ourselves. God gives us the graces necessary to be of service, and those graces live on and continue to grow when we serve Him or others. If we practice doing good even in small ways, we'll soon find that we want to do even more good, and our faith will continue to grow.
Serving God brings us closer to being the perfect beings He wants us to be. It also teaches us to more fully allow God to work in our lives. Ideally, we start with prayer asking for guidance as to what God wants us to do. Once we know, we have to rely on Him to give us the strength to follow through. He may be asking us to do something outside of our comfort zone, so we must open up to Him and allow His graces to work.
Throughout his earthly life, Jesus taught that we should love one another as our Father in heaven loves us. Service is a way to do just that. Jesus also said that "what you do to the littlest of these you do to me", so even in the smallest action - a kind word, an opened door, a favor done - we are serving God.
So look around your life, and see the small actions that you do everyday - at work and at home - that signify your ability and commitment to serve God. And thank Him for blessing you with the courage to be His servant.
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