I get you. I hear you; I really do.
But these are excuses- and quite frankly, they are really lame. We have to take responsibility for our life, habits, and choices. Why can't we come to grasp that the only thing that really matters is what we do for Christ? Why can't I understand that- why am I so distracted?
I was fake interviewing some church friends and single adults and asking them what they did after work- how they spent their time. Their answers were very mundane. Let's see, they wash clothes, exercise, knit, cook, and read. What a dream life right? I understand that God asks us to be faithful in the small things; I do think responsibilities matter; more importantly relationships matter. But what about living for Jesus in a radically different way than the rest of the world?
I met a nursing coworker yesterday who asked me why I came to Chattanooga. When I told her about the Adventist community here, her response was this "I used to not know anything about Adventists- think they were weird- and now I know they are just like everybody else."
It shocked me, totally silenced me, you can't rebuttal that. Ouch is the simple response. But it gave me a sense of urgency to go back to the ABC's of Christianity and question what does it mean to live for Jesus? What does it mean to know Him and be changed? And I think a key aspect to Christianity is taking up our crosses beside Him. It's service.
Ellen White writes that "In many cases the rubbish of the world has clogged the channels of the soul. Selfishness controls the mind and warps the character. Were the life hid with Christ in God, His service would be no drudgery. If the whole heart were consecrated to God, all would find something to do, and would covet a part in the work. "
We would covet a part in the work. We would be excited- our hearts would be on fire; we would be passionate again. What would it be like to be a God-follower that experienced joy and passion during the week because of our love and service for Jesus? Service has the ability to totally set our hearts on fire- to change our lives around- to give us an opportunity to participate in the fellowship of service with Jesus.
Service helps us overcome selfishness. It teaches us to count our blessings. There are so literally so many amazing things about service and ways it can change our lives and yet so often we sigh and grudgingly help. We don't ask God to radically open our eyes to where He is asking us to minister.
Personally, I MISS service- like a homesick, deep longing for the meaning and fulfillment that service brings as well as the connection to Jesus. I miss working as a missionary at an orphanage in Peru- feeling like I was actually connected to Christ and able to minister to the girls who were there. I miss children's hospital ministry: leading groups to the hospital to sing and dance and make kids laugh who were in pain or who had terminal diseases. And I miss summer camp- I miss getting to counsel kids and teach them what it meant to follow Christ. I miss organizing the Passion play and getting to act like an angel, writing the story of how "Jesus changes lives." I miss service so much and if I would easily say that special memories I have when I gave my time and energy to Jesus were the best experiences and most joyful experiences of my life!
I truly believe service can be something we love. It doesn't have to be forced, or just fulfill a time obligation. God created us with gifts with passions and with feelings- He created us to be alive and to get excited- about helping others.
If you're like me and your not currently involved in service- maybe you're thinking back to a time in your life when you were- and you remember the joy it brought, I challenge you to ask God for a ministry. Ask God where you can serve. And then truly prepare your heart for the unexpected.
God might be calling you to something right in front of your face, like getting involved with your local church more, or He might be asking you to do something crazier like starting your own project or going on a mission trip.
The thing is God doesn't just ask us to get involved with service and His ministry when we have more time, or if we feel like it. In His Word He demonstrates that we were created to serve; that He lived a life of service teaching us how to use our hands and feet to touch others. In Matthew 25:40 it says "The King replied, Truly I tell you whatever you did for the least of these brothers and sisters you did for me." Do we know Him? Do we truly know Him? And if we know Him, do we take the time to find Him in the least of these and to serve Him?