Point to Ponder: I serve God by serving others.
Question to Consider: Which of the six characteristics of real servants offers the greatest challenge to myself?
In answer to today’s question, #6 is definitely the hardest one for me to live up (down?) to. Part of that is because many of my gifts — teaching, exhortation, administration — involve coordinating large groups. However, to be brutally honest, part of it is also an ego thing: I thrive in the spotlight. I come from a family of performers — one year my dad, my brother, and I all performed in our town’s July 4th Talent Show. When I have something to contribute, it is nearly impossible for me to keep my mouth shut.
While occasionally amusing, this tendency of mine highlights the key difference between genuine servanthood and what we might call ‘shape-olatry.’ The bottom-line question, as Rick makes it clear here, is whether I am using my shape to serve myself — my ego, my reputation, my goals — or to serve God and others. All too often, I find myself doing my work in God’s name, rather than truly doing God’s work. No matter how spiritual and wise our service may seem to others, God knows our true hearts. Are we genuinely submitted to him and his purposes, and willing to measure our service by the genuine benefit it brings others? Or are we content to be a noisy trumpet or clanging cymbal*
Prayer: Father God, you know my heart. You know that part of me genuinely longs to serve you, and fulfill your purposes for me and those I love and serve. Yet you also know that much of my heart still seeks to serve itself, and use the gifts you’ve given me for my own selfish gratification. Father, have mercy on me. Save me from myself. Help me to die to the ego-needs that push me to ignore the needs of others in favor of what makes me look or feel good. Help me to find true satisfaction in living for you, and giving you the power and authority to determine which of my needs to satisfy, and when. For only then will I find true happiness. I ask all this in Jesus name, Amen.