I Don't Want to Hold Your Baby
when serving feels like duty
What does it look like, to have a heart of service in the midst of money-making pursuits?
This question plagues many of us, as we seek to live out Jesus's mandate to love others as we love ourselves, while at the same time growing our businesses or our careers.
The messages we often hear from church leadership encourage us to serve more.
Please, volunteer for the church nursery! We need you!
Or maybe it's Sign up to serve a meal at the local shelter this Christmas! We need you!
Sign up for something! We need you!
Every local church has so many needs, just to keep itself running. Every service needs people to teach the kids. People to set up and break down the rooms. People to lead music and work the audio-visual equipment and make the coffee and pass out the programs and clean the bathrooms. Please, sign up! We need you!
not a fit
But what happens when none of that is a real fit for your gifts? When all of it feels like you're just "checking the box" of service? Is this really what Jesus meant when he told us to love others? Have our hearts gone horribly wrong, if we don't feel a pull toward any of it?
As professional Christian women, we're often asked to serve in many of these ways, and because we want to live a life of service, we have difficulty saying no to these requests, even though somehow we know we don't really belong in some of these areas.
We aren't resentful. We aren't complaining. And actually, we're completely willing to put in some time to participate in this wonderful organization to which we belong.
But it feels like duty. And, as usual, we feel a little guilty. Guilty that we're doing it, but not loving it. Or guilty that we're resisting.
Obviously, there's nothing wrong with getting involved in a church's programming, especially if we are benefiting from those programs ourselves. In fact, we should pull our weight somewhere in the local church we attend.
But we're not just trying to check a box. Are we?
a core value
We want to make service a core value of our lives, flowing from our hearts. And true service is a way of life. It's a way of looking at life.
So... is it possible that your very best way to serve the world might not be in a church building? That you can and should put in some time volunteering there, for the good of all, but that your particular gifts might lead you out into the world in a way that... makes money?!
Perhaps we should think of serving less as something we do, (that we can check of a list for the week) and more of who we are. We are here to love and serve people. It's in the spiritual DNA of a person who follows Jesus.
When we look at serving as part of our spiritual DNA, it starts to merge and blend into the specific ways that God has gifted us, the unique dream that God is putting in our hearts, and the thing He's pulling on us to pursue. Even if that service earns an income.
'm sorry, but...
So, maybe it's OK if no one finds us in the church nursery on a Sunday morning. I'm sorry, but that's not my gift. I don't want to hold your baby.
Yes, we will find places to serve in this local organization that we're part of, that we benefit from. But we will not confuse that participation with a true heart of service.
A true heart of service can only come from our true heart. And part of our true heart is our personality, our gifts, our skills.
We will feel the freedom that God gives us. The freedom to develop that heart of service that isn't a checkbox, service that is a way of life flowing out of the unique person that God very intentionally made us to be.
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