The Satisfaction of Serving
Whether it's providing good customer service, honing a skill, or doing something nice for someone we love, there's a certain satisfaction that comes in serving others. That satisfaction is built into our core, and our emotional framework and health is dependent on helping others. Conversely, if we spend our days seeking our own satisfaction, we may find that we feel more discontent than when we started. This is because we were built for community, and service is written in our DNA.
Jesus reveals The Most important directives of our lives
Our words reveal what's in our hearts, and God's word reveals the heart of God. So when the the Apostle John describes Jesus as "the Word made flesh," he's describing Jesus' identity as the word of God incarnate; the walking revelation of God. When Jesus spoke, he revealed God's heart.
Therefore, when Jesus says that the single most important directives for our lives are to love God and love our neighbor as ourselves, he's not just giving a nice talk, he's revealing our destiny, purposed in us by our Creator. None of us will ever truly be satisfied until we make these two instructions the core foundation of our lives.
- Loving God, which is a two way relationship of loving and receiving his love, and
- Loving the people around us with a tangible, caring love.
When we work under our own directive to mostly take care of ourselves, we will spend our days weighted down with an undertone of emptiness and unfulfillment. Kind of like that feeling at the end of binge watching a Netflix series, right? Yuck. Our lives are most satisfying, not when we just to take care of ourselves, but also to look after the needs of others.
Love God, take care of yourself, receive the love that is yours, and let this be springboard to sharing love with anyone and everyone you can. This is the community that God designed, and this is how we usher in heaven on earth.
Who is my neighbor? Who am i to love?
Your neighbor is the person in front of you. All day long we interact with our neighbors, ones that we don't know, and some that we know very well. It can be the friend sitting across from us, or the person in line at the grocery store. Your neighbor could be the person who managed the machines that sewed the clothes that you're wearing, or the person in front of you in traffic (aak!). It can be your spouse or significant other in good times and hard times. Your neighbor is all these things, and just as you are precious in the sight of God, so are they.
We are inundated every day with information and interpersonal relationships. It can be difficult to wade through the muck to set our lives straight. And yet, if we don't, the relationships which are most important to us can fall to pieces. It is our devotion and care of the most important people around us, attending to their needs as well as our own, which builds the foundation of our lives and gives us a strong place to stand. When those foundations are broken, our hearts need restoration to find strength again. Consider prayerfully the relationships below, and seek God as you move forward neighboring in love.
circle of friends and family
network of Acquaintances
the people you interact with only once
Where do your priorities lie? Who do you try the most to impress? Who do you work the hardest for? Do your priorities need any adjustment? What action or actions can you take in the next few days to invest in your top people? Serving those people who are most important to us is what lays a foundation of strength for us to be able to serve others well.
I'm ready to do more
If life is good, God is great, your relationships are pretty solid, and work is going along pretty well, maybe it's time for you to do more. You might feel an itching to make life bigger and better. You've traveled a little, bought something special, and that was great, but there's just something missing. Volunteering is a great way to add wealth into your life that you've never known. It might be time to start asking around in your community and doing Google searches. Here are some things you can do:
Participate: Bible studies, service groups at church, mission projects and trips, a cause you care about
Volunteer: homeless shelters, refugee centers, hospitals and health organizations, food banks, animal rescues, community gardens, environmental cleanup
Activate: Get behind a cause like fair labor practices, environmental impact, animal rights
Give: Micro-loans help small businesses, adopt an orphan or needy child overseas, provide clean water, respond to a current crisis,
Love your neighbor as yourself : When you don't love yourself
Jesus said "loving your neighbor as yourself," is one of the most important directives of our lives, second only to loving God.
In some ways, we naturally take care of ourselves and look out for our own well being. We arrange our household in the best way we can to make ourselves comfortable, we surround us with people who provide the attention and care that we need. We look for a job that suits our talents and abilities, and provides the income we feel we need. We're constantly shopping for the right foods and the right clothes, searching (or longing) for the right transportation, and reaching for the extras that we can add to make ourselves comfortable and happy.
Meeting our own needs is our responsibility and our joy. It's not selfish, it's care for the amazing person that you are. Even in the statement "love your neighbor as yourself,", loving yourself is the "of course." And yet there are times when, instead of caring for ourselves and seeing ourselves in a positive light, we spend the bulk of our thoughts criticizing ourselves and others, and living in a constant state of discontent. This disgruntled state actually makes it harder to love our neighbor, because as we criticize ourselves and the world around us, it spills out into every interaction we have.
You are loved by God, cared about, and you are an amazing creation. You really are amazing. Everything about you is wondrous. From your cell structure, to your cognition, to your unique gifts. You are precious in his site. He sees you, he knows you, and he loves you. Please take a moment to breathe this in.
when life is broken
When life is broken and relationships have been destroyed, there is hope. While there are times when we just can't bring back what is lost, the strength of our lives can be rebuilt. The rhythm of restoration provides the tools you need to rebuild, and there are practices you can put into place in your life which strengthen and build relationships.