What's love got to do with it?
[mk_dropcaps style="fancy-style"]W[/mk_dropcaps]ell if the title of this post drew you in, I will be upfront and say this post is not something profound about the song written by Tina Turner. Instead, I want to address an often neglected form of love, the kind that Hollywood rarely portrays. It is not just a feeling, it is a commitment. Love is best expressed not in a thought or words, but rather by what level of service you are willing to give to those you love. Have you ever felt like you were just going through the motions and your motions lacked any true meaning? If so, I believe this question must be asked: “How am I expressing love in this area of my life?” Are you simply a volunteer or have you been serving that mission, vision, or person?
We are emotional beings and it is our heart that motivates us to do things. However, our feelings are fleeting. They come and go, but the good news is that they will come back when you commit to the journey. This requires that we prioritize serving in all pillars and important arenas of our lives. We serve our Lord, our family and our employer/ clients. In a time so focused on the accumulation of stuff, recognition, authority, and power, the art of serving has been lost. We have exchanged it for the lesser of its cousins, “volunteering.” Which, while still good, is quite shallow when it’s the sole expression of your love to your neighbor and community. To avoid offending anyone here, let me slow down to clarify the difference between serving and volunteering. You may find that you are already serving, but you need to take it up a level.
Here is the definition from the good ‘ol dictionary.com:
Serve (v)- to render obedience or homage to God; to work for
- To render assistance, be of use; help
Volunteer (v)- to perform a service willingly and without pay
One speaks to having an experience while the other consists of a committed investment. In volunteering, while you don’t accept financial compensation, more often than not, you are not fully invested in the organization, the cause, or the people you are volunteering for. When serving, your heart is tied to who you are serving. Now, it is not just a transaction of your time, but an expression of your love. Love is a commitment and a verb. Love requires action in order to stay alive.
I want to challenge you. If you are just starting out in being planted in the house of God, or have been planted for a while, I challenge you to step up and not just volunteer but begin serving. Is there an organization with a cause close to you? I dare you to sow in to that cause and see what will be reaped in your development as a person, and as a leader.
I have seen firsthand, that in crossing the threshold from merely volunteering to serving, you take a step of faith that leads to maturity. Service is humbling. I think about the countless men and women of our armed forces and how they have selflessly sacrificed to serve our nation and protect our freedoms. I think about my pastors and leaders in my church and what they have all paid in order to continue serving. The price tag for serving is that you are not just investing your time like volunteering, but you invest finances as well as your heart.
Serving is one of the best ways for you to grow in your relationship with Christ. After all, Jesus was not a volunteer, showing up for a one-time short transaction, but His whole life, even death, was done as service.
[mk_blockquote style="line-style" font_family="none" text_size="16" align="center"]...Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.-Mark 10:45, Matt 20:28[/mk_blockquote]
My point is simple. Do you find it difficult to integrate? Serve. Do you find it hard to make your church more than just checking off the box as something to do? Serve. Or maybe you want your family to grow and have more love? It starts with serving.
This week, find a need of those around you and meet it. Yep, serving really is that simple. See a need and do something to help it. Then, next week, what should you do? Rinse, repeat. Find a need and meet it. Join a team. Be consistent where you are serving. You will find that the love and joy in your life will exponentially increase. There is a facet of love that is not activated until you serve. It is addicting. You will begin to desire service. You will not feel like serving all the time, I get that. But as you commit to this, the feelings, love, and connection you feel toward God and those you serve are all going to deepen. That fact alone will get you to do it one more time.
Do you have a story of how serving got you out of a slump of hopelessness? Share your story here. It could help others step into their breakthrough.