I picked service as my one word focus this year. (Anyone else do a one word?)
Today’s reading flashes it like Christmas lights set on blink.
Service. Service. Service.
This is how Aaron’s descendants, the priests, were divided into groups for service … 31 Like the descendants of Aaron, they were assigned to their duties by means of sacred lots, without regard to age or rank. 1 Chronicles 24:1a and 31 NLT
8 The musicians were appointed to their term of service by means of sacred lots, without regard to whether they were young or old, teacher or student. 1 Chronicles 25:8 NLT.
I learned a lot about service as this year progressed. About my heart behind it. About my expectations from it. About how hard it is when you don’t particularly like the circumstance or person you’re serving. What I hoped would be a year of good-doing revealed a warped focus wrapped in pride.
I had to regroup. God has wired me a certain way. He has a job for me, without regard to my age or experience. He gives me opportunity to care for the flock around me–extended family, neighbors, other moms, and certainly the people under this roof. Service is not always convenient. Or pretty. Or at times, in my case, willing.
2 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. 3 Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your own good example … And all of you, serve each other in humility, for
“God opposes the proud
but favors the humble.”
6 So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. 1 Peter 5:2-3, 5b NLT.
It is easier to care for the people I love and who love me back. But this year, I’m learning to serve even the ones who don’t love back. I’m sure there are other families facing the strain of difficult relationships. And they will understand the dragging feet of grudging and the knotted stomach of stress.
8 Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. 9 Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are. 1 Peter 5:8-9 NLT.
This year, though, I’m standing firm and being strong. I’m fixing a table up and stoking the fire in the fireplace. I’m putting together a menu I love, for a holiday I enjoy and a concept I treasure; and serving a God I adore, as if he himself were seated at my table. I cannot control the responses and actions of others–and God doesn’t require it of me. He asks me to humble myself and serve him, the way he has me wired, regardless of my age or experience. (Julie once shared a definition of service as worship; this sticks with me.) And really, there is no burden in that.
35 “Be dressed for service and keep your lamps burning, 36 as though you were waiting for your master to return from the wedding feast. Then you will be ready to open the door and let him in the moment he arrives and knocks. Luke 12:35-36 NLT.