Part eight of our new Missions Matter Series, come back each week to find out more about serving those around your home and community as well as around the world. God has given us the power to be His witnesses! Start today…
By Heather Radu-
Jesus once said, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13 ESV). We recognize this, so we are impressed when we hear about someone who has given up a lot to help people in need. And rightly so!
Sometimes, though, I think we can turn a “sacrificial life” into a kind of idol. Have you ever met someone who works and works and works, giving up their time and energy, only to complain that they are the only ones working? And then, when someone does try to help, they refuse to let them? This person has turned something good (self-sacrifice) into something very bad (self-righteousness). Sadly, these people often wreck their bodies through their work, and they wreck their souls by turning prideful and bitter.
To truly serve others in a loving and sacrificial way, we can’t be focused on how it makes us look or feel, or whether it makes us a “better” person morally. Every act of service that we do has to come from the love of God, which has already filled us. When we love God, love for others will flow out naturally. Then you will be able to serve without getting bitter or suffering from burnout.
Please do not misunderstand: I’m not saying that loving God makes serving people easy! It will always have its hard moments. But the only way we can survive the hard times is through the love and strength of Jesus. He will give us the resources we need, even at our lowest.
I think it’s likely that those people we admire, the ones who lay down their lives for their friends, don’t even think of what they do as “laying down their lives.” I think they see it as loving their neighbors, and that is the motivation for service that God calls us to. When you serve, ask yourself, “Why am I making this sacrifice?” Your heart may be filled with the love of God, or you may have selfish motives (we’re probably all a mixed bag, honestly). Either way, remember that God is love, and if we want to love others, we need to draw our strength from Him.