Sunday, March 13, 2011

Recognize Discouragement

Do you ever feel discouraged when you serve others or do the work that you feel God has called you to do? I sure do! It may not sound right but it’s not easy to serve others when there’s very few perks for those that serve. Maybe that’s the point. Do we serve for our benefit or for the benefit of others? Now I know the right answer but what is the truth? If we are really honest there is a lot of “us” in our serving.

I’m not trying to have a negative vibe here but it’s true isn’t it? Look, I like to serve at the Food Bank for the Backpack program. It helps provide food for children that are on the free or reduced meal plan at school so they can eat health on the weekend. For some kids it’s the only food they have until breakfast on Monday. I go there with 30-40 other people and for 3 hours we pack 3500 backpacks with about 10 pounds of good food. What would I do if I was the only one that showed up? What would I do if the great people at the Food Bank were not so good and yelled at me? There are a number of situations that could be discouraging and I would probably keep coming for a while but over time I’d drop out…and do you know why? I’m ashamed to say it. I’d quit because my needs were not being met.

What are my needs? I want to be wanted. I like others to think I’m a good sever. I like to think that without me and my hard work, these children would be worse off. I like to be patted on the back. I like having limited responsibility so I don’t have to see it through. I like the pleasant side of service so I don’t have to be aware or feel guilty about the challenges I’m not addressing. I’m sure there are many more reasons I serve that have nothing to do with the reason I should serve.

Let’s face it; we get discouraged when we serve ourselves. Discouragement just might be the warning sign that there is a problem with our hearts. We are to serve out of a response of our faith. We are to serve like Christ serves and he served by going to the cross. It should not matter how hard or how little the praise is, we should serve because of Christ. Stephen served by getting stoned. Paul served by getting arrested. John served in prison. I serve when I want to and only if I get the perks I think I deserve. Ouch!

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