When I remember back to high school (It was OH so long ago... almost 6 years, THAT is weird) there was a time in youth ministry that we all learned about serving one another. I don't remember the scripture we had studied, or who spoke on it, (but let's be honest, it was probably Tom,) but I do remember the acts that followed this particular lesson. Helping one another, lifting one another up, being comforters, friends, and cheerleaders for each other.
Doesn't it sound so great to have a community around you cheering? To have friends who pick you up when you are down, who care for you when you are sick, who take care of business when you cannot? To have people praying for you daily? Well- I think that sounds awesome.
In high school it was really little things:
-Can I plan the songs this week for youth group?
-Can I pray with you about your finals?
-Can I take you to _____ since you don't have your license yet?
You know, those things, and a lot of the time, really, I don't think as many opportunities to serve were taken as should have been.
I see it this way. We are all pretty self sufficient people (or like to think we are) and we know that we can take care of things (even if it might take us two hours longer than if we had help). But- with that- we are all selfish people, too.
Stay with me here, aren't we selfish to get the glory for doing things, to be noticed for working hard (although I know this isn't the perfect example, but I think it can count in some circumstances), or to be felt sorry for that you have done sooooooo much?
I know that when I was working three jobs and pregnant it did make me feel good for my husband to praise my efforts, to notice that I was kicking my tail knowing my teaching job was going to be gone the next year. But- it became such an obsession at times that I would take on more because I liked hearing his praises, and instead of allowing him to take some of my other burdens (such as laundry, making dinner, doing dishes, etc.) I packed that on too, because it made me look good. "Wow, she works so hard." But wasn't that out of selfishness? Uh... pretty sure that's a positive Ghost Rider.
In those youth group days our leaders told us that sometimes we would have to purposefully allow people to serve us. Yes, you are capable, but does that mean you should/have to do it? (But... there are some people who have become very good at being "served" and I want to kick them in the face, you know, those who never work, or whose homes are trashed and a group comes, cleans it up, and the next week it is completely in disarray again? I think sometimes we can be taken advantage of.)
But specifically I remember a conversation with a friend, "Let me do this for you, let me serve you."
We are called to serve others as Jesus did.
I love the story about washing the disciples feet in John chapter 13. There is so much to this passage, but tonight, I am focusing on the fact that Jesus took the role of a servant, and cleaned the dusty feet of His followers. Some protested, but He explained that He had to do it anyway.
Do you protest to people serving you? I do- because I know I can do it on my own. But this so easily creeps into other areas of our lives too- I can do salvation on my own, I can do forgiveness on my own, I can do life on my own, and God then has no place. People offer to carry a diaper bag, but I got it. Or to hold my baby while I do something else, but I can do it one handed.
This Sunday I was sick, very very sick, and I let my husband serve me (that doesn't seem to be difficult, except for when he doesn't do what I want done when I want it done). A good friend of mine repeatedly asked how she could help me, and although I lay in bed for hours, I told her nothing, that we were fine. Last night, as I pondered those days back in high school and allowing others to serve you, I replied to a simple text that I could use her help the next day.
In serving me, my sweet friend also helped me to serve my sister-in-law who is recovering from delivering my adorably sweet nephew. Because I remembered back to some Snow Blast, the ball of service is rolling. And I'm hoping to serve my sick friend this week, and my other friends in months to come.
As a mom, there is a lot to think about here- how do I teach Brooklyn to serve others and be served, but not to take advantage/be taken advantage of? Or, do I leave that up to God? I hope she will see her dad and I serving people in more ways than bringing meals, moving furniture, or doing laundry. (Although seriously, isn't is AWESOME when someone does your laundry? Uh- ya, and puts it away... in the right places!)
Serving others is so simple, but it is finding those who will let themselves be served. As a mom and wife, I serve my husband and daughter daily, but what if I extended it beyond them? I like to think that I serve my parents when I help do dishes, while they serve me by taking care of Brooke for a bit. Or by purposefully cleaning up the things that we took out while we were over there (particularly having to do with our baby, and YES, I did call to apologize to my mom for not putting Brooke's bad back in the spare room on Saturday.) Have you chosen to be served? How can we serve others this week?
(I'm thinking we won't be serving the neighbors with shoveling.... because they all have snow blowers... but we'd gladly be served... not that I KNOW my neighbors really.... :)