Why is it, the best we ever feel is when God works through us to assist another in need of help? Personally, no monetary compensation has ever offered the more lasting and fulfilling joy of having been a blessing to someone in some way. Strange, isn’t it? But then, maybe we shouldn’t be surprised, for Jesus said, “If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”1
This Biblical love of which Jesus speaks is active love. It elicits warm feelings and noble thoughts, certainly, yet it stirs also in the deeper chambers of our soul, awakening the servant within from its slumber. This love does not chafe at personal inconvenience, nor does it shrink from the enormity of its call. God’s love never stops at obstacles; it moves mountains—it loves anyway. And in love, God grows us even through failures too numerous to count. Here are a few lessons learned along the way.
Follow Jesus’ lead. Jesus did “only what he [saw] his Father doing”2 and said “just what the Father … told [him] to say.”3 We are likewise called to speak and act only as His Spirit leads us, for we are “created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”4
Join in. For years, I sensed a call to share God’s love with the incarcerated, but it was only when a friend invited me to serve on a prison ministry team that I actually engaged. If you sense the Spirit urging you to minister in some way but you don’t know how, join someone already doing as you are being called to do.
Use your gift. The Spirit gifts us just as He determines,5 so each of us has a role amid all of us. Whatever your gift may be—helping, teaching, administration, intercession, leadership, hospitality or another—act in it. Then listen to the symphony of the Spirit’s wind flowing through an entire orchestra of individual instruments, that is the church.
Seize the day. Life presents its momentous occasions along the way, but it chiefly comes at us in daily doses of small measures. The call to actionable love also comes in ways unexpected and easily overlooked. God has prepared these for you—and you for these—so watch for them, and step into them as they unfold before you.
Do it anyway. If others discourage you from God’s call to sacrificial service or Satan entices you elsewhere, or if you if you simply don’t feel like being selfless, step into the moment anyway and serve as you’re being called to serve. There will be fruit.
Embrace God’s favor. Before you do anything in Jesus’ name, His love for you is already infinite. Serve then not to gain God’s favor, but in the joy and humility that you already have it.
Father, you have poured out your love and grace upon us. Show us and lead us in what you are calling us to say and do today. Be pleased with us, your people in Christ Jesus. Amen.
1 John 15:10-12
2 John 5:19
3 John 12:50
4 Ephesians 2:10
5 1 Corinthians 12:11