Posted by: jonespt | July 23, 2008

serving on my terms

So I was talking with a wise friend the other day who made the comment “I’m finding that when we serve someone, even if we have the best intentions, we still do it on our own terms.”  Wow, I mean that’s insightful.  He kept talking in our conversation but I got stuck on that phrase for a little bit and had to ask him to go back and flush that out a little more for me.  Maybe I’ve heard that before, but what we were talking about was a personal issue that I connected with and when I realized that what he said pretty much summed up my attitude toward service, it just stopped me.  I was “cut to the quick.”

It showed me that if I like to serve, I still like to do it on my own terms and when it’s convenient and not based on what the needs of the person I’m serving.  I mean, I like to dictate the when and what and how of my service and not really ask the person what they really need b/c I guess I’m afraid they’ll ask something too inconvenencing (is that a word?) for me.  I guess I’m afraid to get a little “messy” with my service.  And the thing is, when I do it, I don’t realize it, but instead I pat myself on the back b/c I just “served.”  I never examine the fact that maybe what I did was ok, but it isn’t really placing their needs ahead of my own, b/c it’s still serving MY way.

As I was thinking about this more in the bathroom (hey, I said I would be honest when I write), I had another “duh” moment when I realized that Christ was our example for serving in a Christ-like way (I know, obvious isn’t it).  I mean, when God wanted a relationship with us human-folk and wanted to draw us to Himself, He could’ve just sat up there in heaven and said “Hm, I wish I could connect to them somehow, but oh well.”  Instead He, through Christ, decided He’d get a little “messy” and humbled Himself to be made in the form of a man and joined us here on earth (Philippians 2) and then proceded to bring us salvation.  So, I guess we should take our cue from Him and really challenge ourselves when we approach a service opportunity for a friend or a ministry, and ask how I can serve this person on their terms in such a way to where I’m putting them ahead of myself.  I bet I’ll be and you’ll be surprised with how it changes our service.

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