Photo Credit: Paul Rysz
Do you ever notice a character quality of another person that makes you painfully aware of your own deficiency? Does this cause you to feel convicted, motivated, or condemned? How can we bless and learn from each other when everyone has different strengths and spiritual gifts?
I admire the quiet strength and inner beauty of individuals who possess the gift of serving others. Without even trying to, they constantly find themselves behind the scenes, quietly (and happily!) doing what needs to be done.
I don’t know about you, but this does not describe me! Oh, I serve my family, and I serve in various ways in our ministry, but I still have so much to learn in the area of serving.
I will be honest with you. At times, I get impatient with my children when I’m cleaning up after them again. I get overwhelmed and discouraged when there seems to be no end to all the things that are demanding my attention. I can become frustrated when ministry takes too much of our personal time. I can stew when others don’t seem to appreciate what I do for them. Ouch! This doesn’t sound like I’m much of a selfless server, does it?
In contrast, my husband, Duane, is the epic example of godly servanthood. He is the most unselfish person I’ve ever known and makes the gift of serving look so easy. It simply flows from the core of who he is. (He also has the patience of Job!)
August of this year, marked the thirty year anniversary of Duane joining Gospel Express Ministries. He has sacrificially served in many ways over the years. He was a nineteen year old young man who had a deep passion to pursue God’s calling on his life and to serve in whatever capacity he could. His desire was to glorify his Father and to make the ministry of Gospel Express successful. I must say, the longer I know him…the more I admire him!
So what have I learned from being married to a selfless server? I have learned that serving is a motivational gift for some people. It invigorates them. But others have to work on developing this character quality. For instance, my husband can be busy all day, day-after-day, tirelessly serving, but I get “burned out” much sooner than he does. I need times for de-stressing and relaxing, while he is content to keep working and going strong like the energizer bunny!
I’ve also learned that there are different ways to serve others. It may not come as easily for me to physically serve, but it motivates me when I can spiritually encourage others, or help to answer health questions or help someone discern spiritual root issues.
I used to feel condemned or inadequate when I didn’t do everything I observed others doing. But I’ve discovered that I will never be able to “keep up” in all the areas of serving. And that’s okay. God never created me to do it all.
Yes, I believe we are all called to serve in some way. But please don’t condemn yourself or feel inadequate when you don’t do all the great things you see others doing. You may not be the woman who always has a delicious meal prepared at a moment’s notice, AND served on beautiful dinnerware! You may be relieved just to have the time to serve your family a good, but simple meal on paper plates! And you know what? That’s perfectly fine! After all, showing love to our family goes deeper than the gourmet food we make, and it includes helping them prepare for the real world without unrealistic expectations. Now, I love to prepare special meals and food for my family, but I’d rather they learn to be happy and grateful for simple meals served on paper plates rather than becoming pampered or disillusioned about how life should be.
Because of the health struggles our children have had over the years, I served my family in many ways that others without the demands of “special needs” children wouldn’t think about or understand. I wasn’t able to do many things that others were able to because of the intense time and focus our children took. Some people understood, but others didn’t. However, I’ve never regretted the time I spent caring for my children. But I do wish I would’ve been less stressed about fulfilling the expectations of others! I know that my primary calling was to serve and meet the needs of my children.
Why is it that we are so quick to compare ourselves with each other? And why are we so prone to cast judgment when someone isn’t carrying what we think is “their share” of the load? Does it really matter that we all serve in the same way, or is it more important that we develop a servant’s heart and serve joyfully in what capacity God has for us? Apples may look and taste different than oranges, but they’re still a fruit! In the same way, serving can look different for each one of us.
The next time you are tired and burned out, ask yourself if you’re struggling because you’re trying to keep up with the expectations of others…or maybe they’re your own expectations! Then ask God to reveal to you what HIS expectations are and focus on fulfilling those. We’re not all called to serve in the same way, but we ARE all called to serve.
“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” (Gal. 6:9)
~Cindy ( For The Mullett Family)