Even those who devoted themselves to a “religious” life, for instance, spending their days in a monastic existence, will normally use some of that time serving the poor or disadvantaged.
Idleness has often been demonstrated to have a degenerative effect on one’s health and general well-being, physically and spiritually.
Obviously we all know that we are built for physical activity and get more satisfaction, even sleep better when we get a job done – even more than from just physical exercise.
We think of King David leaving his warrior’s duties to his general and “having a break” in his palace. You can read the story of David’s fall into temptation in 2 Samuel 11, which led to a cover-up and even murder, and the terrible consequences that followed. Had David kept himself occupied, he would have saved himself and his family from the curse that resulted.
When I talk about having a break, I’m not talking about having a well-deserved rest, the Sabbath Principle as I discussed earlier.
We are built to serve. We are made in God’s image, and He loves doing good.
He came down to earth to do community with us and worked tirelessly, not just as a good carpenter, but as an exceptional counselor, an inspiring leader, a compassionate healer, a wise teacher, not to mention the working of miracles.
And to top it all off, He spent His own blood to bring about our redemption.
What an example to follow!
So many have felt God’s presence when they carry on His work (especially when they do it His way) even through the blood, sweat and tears.
No wonder research shows that those who serve enjoy more satisfaction in life than those who merely amass wealth.
Yet even our ordinary and sometimes uninspiring daily tasks can be considered a service, if it’s done well and with a good attitude. It may not gain many headlines in the media, but it’s what God thinks that really counts. Scriptures say some amazing things about ordinary duties. Even if you give a cup of water in His name, God will reward it. (See Mark 9:41)
The benefits of selfless serving, or at least sacrificial giving, have long been recognized.
It gives hands and feet to our faith. Surely everyone knows that scripture: “…Faith without works is dead.” (See James 2:20).
Anyone who has had any touch from God, at some stage in their life feel an urge to get involved in the community in some practical way – not merely praying for them or wishing them well (even though that is a great way to start.)
But what motivates us to do service for God and for people?
Have we ever stopped what we’re doing to ask ourselves: “Why am I doing this? What really motivates me to spend all this time, effort and money to do what I do?”
Are we purely motivated by the same sacrificial love that Jesus showed?
Or is it mixed with pure self-fulfillment or what people think of us or even getting brownie-points from God? The purer the motive, the more powerful and effective our service will be.
But let’s not feel guilty about that, because God, like any good father, will accept what His children do regardless, and gradually work on our motives as we learn to get closer to Him. (See Philippians 2: 12,13.)
We are all in transition from religion to relationship after all, so I’m in no position to judge.
Even Jesus doesn’t judge, and He’s the only one who has the right.
So let’s keep up the good work, folks!