Be sure to fear (respect) the Lord and serve Him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you. 1 Samuel 12:24
We all serve others. Many get much joy and satisfaction from helping others while some feel their service is a duty and they resent the time and efforts required of them. Some do service for recognition or reward. Others do it from the heart out of pure love and kindness, and they desire no praise or recognition of any kind.
Some acts of service can be on a grand scale and the results, life changing for many people. Others, such as those we do in our own homes, can feel tedious and monotonous and we sometimes wonder if they make any difference at all.
Regardless of the reason, each one of us is a servant to others in some way. Think about how much time we all serve others as wives, husbands, parents, grandparents, friends, church members, professionals, neighbors, volunteers, laborers, etc. And service to others who are in need is a worthy deed. It is what God has asked us to do and what Jesus taught us by example. But the question becomes, are we merely doing acts of service because we are expected to, or do we truly have a loving, willing, servant heart? There is a huge difference, especially in God’s eyes!
Sometimes when we have put much time, effort, and even money into helping someone, we feel their sincere gratitude for our ability to provide the help they need. It does our hearts good to know that we have made a difference in their lives and that we have done a good thing. It feels gratifying and fulfilling.
But then at other times, we may not experience those feelings. The individuals we have helped don’t seem to appreciate that what we have done was out of love or concern for them, and they don’t even seem to recognize our hard work, sacrifice, and the time and effort we put into our service to them. We may get frustrated or discouraged when those we are serving don’t seem to respond as we would hope or expect. And our hearts may not be as willing to serve others again.
It may be difficult to feel good about serving those who don’t seem to appreciate what we have done for them, but we are to remember that God’s first commandments to us are to love Him and our neighbors. We aren’t to spend our lives as selfish, isolated beings. We need to spend our time doing things that benefit others. We need to serve willingly, make sacrifices, undergo inconveniences, and relinquish some of our time on others’ behalf.
Having a servant heart for Christ requires an attitude of love for our God and a desire to be like Him. It is a kind of service that seeks satisfaction from knowing that by serving others we are serving Him. We may or may not receive gratitude or acknowledgement in return, but we can find comfort in knowing that God may have placed us where we were needed at the time. And we can have the satisfaction of knowing that we made a difference in their lives.
This lesson reminds us that we should follow God’s example and keep on serving. We should continue to bless others with our time and efforts just as He continues to be faithful to bless us. God keeps loving, He keeps giving, and He keeps His eyes on us. And we need to keep loving, keep serving, and keep our eyes on Him.
We need to remember that every act of service we render, no matter how insignificant it may seem, is an act of service to Him. People may not notice, but God does, and He is our strength and motivation to continue. Our goal is to have “A Servant Heart”- one filled with love, a willingness to help and give it our all, and one dedicated to serving Him.
Dear God, we ask that you give us a servant heart and that you continue to give us your compassion, love, and grace so that we might better serve others. May we keep our eyes lifted to you and be reminded that in loving others we are showing our love and gratitude to you. Amen