Some of us don’t need to be encouraged to serve. We’re serving at church and elsewhere so much so that we’re running nonstop. If you’re overwhelmed by obligations, if a relaxed family dinner is a rarity, if you say ‘yes’ when asked to serve and immediately regret it, perhaps resolving to simplify your serving would be wise.
Jesus is our model for serving. As we read the Gospels, we see him very busy, speaking to thousands and healing large numbers of people (Mark 1:34; 3:10; 6:56, etc.). He faced difficult challenges, and sometimes was frustrated or angry, but he never appears rushed, stressed or out of sorts. He is always focused on his purpose.
How can we follow his example? How can we simplify our serving? It will be different for each of us, but these may be good places to start:
- “For we are God’s handiwork,created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Eph. 2:10). For our ongoing tasks, and potential new tasks, we can ask our loving Father, “Is this something you prepared for me to do?”
- Compare your tasks to your talents. As God’s “handiwork,” those talents are the tools he gave you to serve others. When you have a choice, aim for tasks that match your strengths. They tend to be tasks that energize you rather than drain you.
- Where God placed you – in a particular family, in a specific neighborhood, in a certain job and community – is also part of his design for you. Aim for tasks that are specifically ‘yours.’
- More thoughts in this article, “Simple Volunteering” and in this great book, “Crazy Busy” by Kevin DeYoung.
Jesus spent long hours in prayer to his Father (Luke 5:16). He often withdrew from the crowds and even the ill (Mark 1:32-39) to pray, to move to the next village, or to spend time privately with his disciples. He focused on his purpose, his mission. When we focus on serving as Jesus has planned for us to serve, it might not be easier, but it will be simpler.
This post is second in a series. The first one is Get Off the Couch!; links to the full series are at the end of this first post.