You’re busy. I know it, you know it, everybody knows it. How can you still do “all the things” you need to do with the love of Christ? How can that make your service meaningful?
This week, I’ve been resting.
Weeks ago, a friend asked me to accompany her to a conference, and I told her I would.
Then life happened.
I completely forgot the dates of the conference and didn’t even realize we’d be gone for three full days. The night before we were to leave at 5:00 a.m., I was scheduled to speak at a church two hours from my home.
I could see all of my anxiety in my husband’s eyes. He couldn’t believe I was really leaving town this week.
Neither could I.
But I had promised my friend, so bright and early Monday morning we headed out. All week long, while she’s been in meetings, I’ve been working, studying, writing, and painting.
It’s been heavenly.
But I still haven’t finished the list of things I was hoping to accomplish in all this quiet time. I wanted to schedule blog posts, pin holiday recipes and crafts, write book chapters and more.
Because I can do “all the things,” right?
And, I know that when I get home, all the other things I haven’t been doing this week will greet me at the door with my attention-needing children.
But I’m just going to act like Scarlett O’Hara and “think about that tomorrow.”
Because there will always be things to do, you know?
What happens when we leave out the love?
As women, wives and mothers (or simply as human beings), we have pretty long to-do lists. For every item we check off, we usually add three more.
It can be exhausting, and in the midst of all the going and coming and getting things done, we can easily lose sight of the purpose for all that we do.
We get focused on our tasks and take our eyes off the goal.
Lately, I’ve been convicted about what my goals are. I’ve been busy and often just rushing from one thing to the next and forgetting that no matter how much I do, regardless of what I accomplish, all my time can really be wasted.
Y’all, I feel guilty enough when I sit and sip coffee instead of cleaning the kitchen so the thought that I could be wasting all of my time terrifies me.
But it’s absolutely possible, and do you know why?
Because when I start just doing “all the things,” I don’t always focus on how I’m doing them.
I leave out the love.
There I said it. I make the dinner or drive the van or write the post but not out of love, and do you know what the Bible says about that?
When I do things without love, all my effort is wasted.
Don’t believe me? Read the words of 1 Corinthians 13:1-3:
“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophesy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.”
I Don’t Want to Be a Gong
Y’all, I don’t want to be a gong.
I was thinking of that as I drove to that church Sunday night, praying that God would speak through me so that the people would get a glimpse of him. I wanted to speak out of love for him and love for them because, otherwise, anything that came out of my mouth would just be words.
It’s the same with this blog. I can write words without love, but they’ll just add to the cacophony around you. I want to do more than just add to the noise.
Maybe the challenge of 1 Corinthians 13 is to look at everything in life that way.
Even the dishes in the sink.
Because I can wash them without love. I usually do.
But what would happen if I took that task and looked at it in light of love? What if I stopped “doing” things for my family and started serving them instead?
Mopping Floors With Meaning
1 John 3:16 says, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.”
That’s how we mop floors with meaning.How can we mop floors with meaning? Don't leave out the love.Click To Tweet
We obey the command of 1 Corinthians 16:14, which says, “Do everything in love.”
The question is “How?” How do we live love in all these little things, the ones that add up to be the really big ones?
Don’t Lose Your First Love
I think the first key is to consider our first love.
If we’re being honest, it’s hard to clean up the 1,000th Lego out of love for the kids who left them there…again. It’s difficult to do dishes with love when your family left them on the table and went their merry way.
Especially if we’re only serving out of love for people.
Serving out of love for the Lord is the game changer. Love for him enables us to serve with love for them.When it comes to serving others, we have to love the Lord first. Love for HIM enables us to serve with love for THEM.Click To Tweet
Colossians 3:23-24 says this: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”
Changing our audience changes our attitudes.
After all, “you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58)
If you want to be sure your work is not meaningless, don’t do it for man.
Jesus made it clear that when we serve others, we are serving him. He said, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40)
It’s not always easy to serve others, is it? Whether it’s our family or church or co-workers or community, sometimes it’s just tough.
And not necessarily because we don’t want to serve them.
We’re tired or busy or a bit stressed out.
Or maybe they are.
People aren’t easy, you know.
That’s why God gives grace.
We should, too.
1 Peter 4:8-11, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gifts you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.”
Love turns service into worship and makes hospitality holy.Love turns service into worship and makes hospitality holy.Click To Tweet
I love other versions of 1 Peter 4:10 because they say, “Each of you should use whatever gifts you have received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.”
The idea that comes to me is Mary Poppins pouring the kids’ medicine after their rainy walk in the park. When it comes to serving others, whether we realize it or not, as believers, whatever the issue, we have what they need.
Because we have Christ.
We have to share him. Offer the hope that others are missing. Pour out the promises he’s given.
Sunday night at the church where I spoke, there was rather large contingent of teenagers. They were laughing and joking and showing each other photos on phones. At one point, while I was speaking, I asked them what they would do if I handed them the newest iPhone.
Because I know what I would do.
I’d call my husband and say, “You will not believe what I just got! And, you didn’t even have to pay for it!”
That’s the heart of missions, I told them, this sharing of the gift we’ve been given. It’s the heart of hospitality and of service. It flows from love, and love makes it last.
It enables us to do the things we have to do day after day, to keep pouring out God’s grace and love on people.
Just like he did.
Don’t Let It Go – Let It Flow
I’ve shown this photo before, but it’s becoming a symbol of my life goal, my purpose.
When you find grace, you give it. If you have hope, you hold it out to others. When you’re loved, you love.
That’s why 1 John 4:19 says, “We love because he first loved us.”
And he doesn’t love us little. He loves big. His love is enough to fill us to overflowing, just like the water in the jars above.
After all, Jesus said, “Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” (John 7:38)
That’s what makes our service meaningful. Jesus turns lowly tasks into life-giving acts of love.
Our service shows our Savior.
I’d bet you didn’t know doing dishes could do that!
Happy Wednesday, everyone! I hope you’ll join us for Encouraging Word Wednesday this week by leaving a link or two below. Also, please leave a comment and tell me how you live in love each day. How do you keep from just going through motions? I can’t wait to hear from you!