Serving by Being Served

I'm not a super gifted person, but a few years ago as a result of a spiritual conviction and a true desire to serve, I thought long and hard of what I could do. Finally I decided that I could serve pregnant mothers with older children by cleaning their homes so they could rest.

With a timid heart but the courage of my convictions I made a list and approached each one.

All of them turned me down. They all seemed offended.

I was crushed. I felt rejected and frustrated.

I don't really know the psychology behind why THEY did this, but to be honest, I've done the same thing.

I was taught to not ask for things...to not "bother" people. And so my first instinct is to do things myself...even if I can't or I need help. Most of the time it doesn't even enter my mind that I CAN ask for help or that I should. I typically just tell myself that if I worked harder that I wouldn't need help. So I put my head down and barrel through.

But I'm learning to say 'yes' when someone offers their help. God is teaching me that it's okay to need help. It's even okay to accept help even when I don't think I need it. It's a part of His plan. It's actually how His body is designed to function. We need each other. 

If nobody will allow anyone else to serve then how will anyone fulfill the call to serve?

The physical body has the ability to give and the ability to receive. If all my hands could do was give things away, I would eventually run out of things to give and I would never receive things I need (like money, food, etc.)...I would die. It's the same with the spiritual body. Our spiritual body is not meant to just give. It is meant to receive. From God and from others.

Even Jesus received "help" from others. He borrowed a room to observe the Passover in, and He allowed Mary to anoint Him with expensive perfume. Can you imagine if Jesus had jumped up and said "It's okay! I don't need to be anointed. Thanks though!"

That perfume could have been sold and the money given to the poor, as the disciples pointed out. I mean, Jesus was all about helping the poor, right?! But instead of rebuking her, he defended her. He said she did the right thing.

And then He rebuked Peter when he tried to refuse Jesus the opportunity to wash his feet.  Jesus was the teacher. It makes sense to me. Thinking of someone I respect doing such a menial task for me seems out of order. But it's not. It's the Jesus way.

The Jesus way is serving and being served. There is a time for both. Both require humility.

The most spiritually uplifting thing that has ever been done for me is allowing me to use my gifts to serve. Even if someone else could have done a better job or was more equipped.

I feel certain that those mothers didn't mean any harm or discouragement. I feel certain that Peter had good intentions by refusing to have his feet washed. But Jesus still rebuked him.

Being the receiver is not a negative thing. Allowing me to scrub your toilet isn't a negative commentary on your housekeeping skills. It is an act of service to someone who doesn't have much to give.

Saying yes when someone offers their help is an act of service as much as offering the help in the first place. Both are a part of God's plan.


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