1 Peter 5:2 (NLT)
Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God.
What has God entrusted to you to watch over? For you it may not be the “flock” or congregation that Peter was literally referring to, but be assured that each of us has been entrusted with something- some group of people or ministry to lead, a cause to live for and a purpose to fulfill.
Whatever gifts and graces that God has given to you- make sure that you are diligent and thoughtful in how you care for and nurture that calling. Peter says we are to be eager to serve God– not to serve grudgingly or as if serving was somehow a burden.
Oh it just got real didn’t it! How many times do we miss the benefits of serving and instead see it as a burden? We’ve all been there- and there is a proper balance to maintain between giving and receiving- but too often we miss one of God’s tools for growing our faith because we view serving as a burden rather than a blessing.
Studies have revealed that both serving on our own as well as serving with teams from church or other organizations like Habitat for Humanity- work to strengthen our relationship with God. Serving is one of those proven, time-tested catalysts that moves us from a casual association with Christ towards living a fully Christ-oriented life. In ways that Bible study and prayer alone cannot, serving takes us beyond ourselves and places us in environments where the Holy Spirit can work to help us to be Christ-centered in our thinking and doing, in our attitudes, behaviors and beliefs. When we as humans intentionally cooperate with the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives- movement towards Christ-likeness occurs!
The process of becoming Christ-like is at the same time a journey of moving away from being self-centered. You can’t move in two opposite directions simultaneously- so to move towards Christ is to move away from selfishness. Serving is a spiritual practice that fosters this movement from self-centeredness towards Christ-centeredness.
Who is at your center? Which direction are you moving? Where can you serve that will place you in an environment where God can continue the good work he began in you?
God, today I ask you to help me get moving in my journey towards Christ-likeness. Help me to be aware of the serving opportunities that you place before me to help me move from being selfish and orienting my life around me- to becoming a person who is centered and focused on Christ and your purpose for my life.
May I serve in the power given to me by the Holy Spirit, in ways that also bring life and meaning to my soul.