Monday, June 2, 2008

Growth in Service

In the past few weeks, God has introduced a new concept to me. I shouldn't say it's a new concept--I'm sure it's the way He always intended it to be--it's just that I've never looked at this particular part of life in this way before.

A little history before I get started: Most of you know that I grew up blessed to be in Christian home, school, church, college, etc. Nothing on earth could ever make me wish that I'd grown up differently, but somewhere along the way I got caught up in what I was doing for Christ instead of what He had done for me. I knew all the right answers, but deep down in my heart of hearts I thought God was pretty lucky to have me on his side. Recently, He's shaken my world by showing me a fresh picture of His grace: that nothing I've done, am doing, or could ever do changes how He feels about or looks at me. That knowledge is precious, but, when it comes how it makes a difference in my day to day, things get a little blurred for me.

Recently the realization that growth comes from service to others has come to surface. In the past, I've always thought of service as something I'm supposed to do because the church needed it or poor people needed it or a friend needed it, etc. Again, it fell into the category of what I was doing for the Lord. However, as I look more at the situations God uses to sanctify this sinner, I'm convinced that service isn't as much for the one(s) I'm serving as it is for me.

This ties back into seeing God's grace in the day to day: Obviously my greatest place of service at this point in my life is here--serving my husband and my girls.

I had been up with Katie once or twice a few nights ago and she was up early wanting nothing more than some Katie & momma time in the form of a feeding. I was mad--there's really no other way to put it--I wanted to sleep and she was keeping that from happening. This is what the Lord (graciously) brought to my heart as I sat that early morning nursing my sweet baby girl:

"Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another [Katie] as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others [Katie]. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus..." Phil. 2:3-5

The passage goes onto explain the attitude Christ had:
He was God.
He came to earth as a man.
He obeyed to the point of death.
He set the standard for setting aside your own interests.
Suddenly the few more minutes of sleep I was longing for at that moment seemed silly.

I'm not going to tell you that suddenly doing laundry, picking up toys, and wiping little bottoms have suddenly become enjoyable tasks. I will say that the realization that God is "working out my salvation" (also found in Phil. 2, oddly enough) through those tasks make them a little more bearable, even a little more precious.

As Paul David Tripp puts it in his book Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands: "God never intended us to be simply the objects of his love [What I've been learning]. We are also called to be instruments of that love in the lives of others [What I'm now learning]."

Would love a little dialogue on the subject if anyone has any; you can leave any feedback in the comments. For now, I'm off to the sanctifying task of making dinner!

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