Serving - What if I don't feel like it?
You get asked to help with a cleaning job, or in creche, or to give flyers out. And immediately you think “but I don’t want to do that, it’s not something I enjoy, I guess it’s not my gift.”
What would God say to that? Well, lots of things, but here’s just one of them: 2 Corinthians 9:7 says: “God loves a cheerful giver.”
So cheerfulness does matter. God loves it when our hearts are in it. If that’s not true, if we’re grudging, or cold, or if we are serving just because others expect it, we should take that seriously. It can be right to take a break or a change. A number of our long term servers have moved to doing something new to find some freshness. That’s healthy. But here’s the crucial thing to remember - before we seek a change, we may need to change ourselves.
Why? Because the cheerfulness mentioned here is primarily not because the task is in itself enjoyable, we love it, or it makes us happy. It’s that we love and enjoy Jesus, and he makes us happy. Think of a newly wed going out on a cold day to unblock the drains. He’s not cheerful doing it because he loves sticking his hand down and grabbing up chicken fat! But he’s cheerful because it’s for her! So with Christian service. In 2 Corinthians the church are giving money away. In John 13 it’s washing feet. In a previous church one friend had the job of mopping up sick from around the church (it was next to a nightclub!). It’s a strange person who finds these tasks fun or enjoyable in themselves! But we’re cheerful when our hearts are full of Jesus and we’re doing it for him.
This changes how you think about whether to stick at something or sign up to something new. Of course it’s a bonus when something is fun, and fits our gifts. But Christian service isn’t about self-fulfilment but about self-giving. Often it may feel hard or sacrificial, or tiring, and like I’m struggling because it’s not my natural gift. Just like “The Son of Man didn’t come to be serve but to serve and to give his life...” (Mark 10:45). But we do it…for him.
Can you pray this for yourself, for all the leadership at the Tab, and all the members? We’re at a stage in the life of the Tab where there’s lots to get involved in and we need God to keep us being “cheerful givers.”