February 9, 2011


I'll be speaking at an up-coming women's retreat for our former church Cambridge.  The topic is service - thinking along the lines of what it meant for Jesus to take on the form a servant (Philippians 2:6), what we're called to as Jesus followers, and how God equips us to serve.

I spent some time early this week studying that Philippians 2 passage and it's really been messing with me.

In a good way.

But messing with me, nonetheless.

Exhibit A
Here's the thing that's getting to me.  I don't mind serving people.  Really.  If you've ever read Gary Chapman's book The Five Love Languages, acts of service is pretty high for me (along with gift giving ... and receiving!)  But it has come to my attention that I have service "conditions" that apply boundaries to my willingness.

For example, I might be willing to serve my children all day (that's a stretch, but for the sake of illustration...), but if it's after 8pm.  Forget it.  They should be asleep - see Exhibit A to the right - and I reserve the right to yell at them and speak impatiently (read: meanly) and slam doors in frustration, because they are not holding up their end of the bargain.

Or, I might be willing to make a meal for a needy family at church, but if another opportunity comes up too, it's certainly justifiable not to make two meals in one week.  No one would fault me that, right?

Dare I even get into the conditions I put on serving my husband?

I won't.

You've got the gist.

Lord, I'm willing to serve up to a certain point.  But you certainly understand if this thing is just beyond what I think you should expect of me.  I'm no longer responsible if I'm too tired, to stretched, or too whatever.

Then I look to the Savior who
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but took on the form of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance like a man,
he humbled himself,
and was obedient unto death -
even death on a cross.
Philippians 2:6-8

I don't have to die for anyone's sins.  Neither do you.  But if we call on this Savior, if He is the Lord of our life, there are no bounds to what He might ask us to do.  Will we be willing?  Will we say 'yes' and watch Christ be strong in our weakness?  Will we die a little more to self today and let Christ increase?

These are the questions I'm asking myself.  I thought I'd share, in case you wanted to think about them to.

This is about faithfulness and trust in relationship with God, not guilt, so I'll close with this encouragement:  God does not call us to anything He will not equip us to do.  Forget not that He is a loving Father, who wants us to share in His holiness. And further, that Christ sent the Spirit,  the very Spirit that lives in us if we've put our trust in Jesus, the Son, who gave Himself as a ransom for many.  It's good news, friends, good news that frees us to love and serve, just as our Master did!

His peace to you today.


  1. Oh, ouch.

    That is hard, because - like you - I think I love to serve, but - like you - I soon discover there are limits... whether the limits are the time, the frequency or the mood (cringe).

    How I *need* to have more of Christ's spirit of servanthood. God give me grace .... and a willing heart.

  2. You can't know what a timely word this is for me today, but God knows! Thank you for your honesty!

  3. Heather, this is me responding to your comment about summer. When are you hoping to be in NI? It would be amazing if you were able to visit here. Really amazing. Think about it, and if there's anything in terms of travelling to the island that you want to know, I could find out from this end (I know the internet has made it easy to look from anywhere, but still) Do you have my e-mail address? anneemag@btinternet.com Drop us a line.... ;)

  4. Your honesty is refreshing and also such a huge reminder of my own "conditions" on serving. I, too, consider my love language to be service. Lord, expose my weaknesses and strengthen me to serve with a willing (and unconditional) heart.

  5. I love the beauty and honesty that you share with. Thank you for being transparent so I can be encouraged. Love to you.

  6. oh man...i am totally like that. once the kids are in bed in my head "i'm off duty."

    that is so wrong and the Lord has been convicting me of it. and then my flesh says, "don't you get any time to yourself?"

    love your posts!