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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Guest Blogger

Testosterhome has a great post about helping our neighbors. She's my Guest Blogger of the day:

Loving Jesus, Serving Others

Weekly column
A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to provide meals for two couples in our neighborhood. One meal was for a young couple who recently had their first baby, the other was for a large family whose father was having some health concerns. As the schedules worked out, I provided both meals a few days apart.

I am amazed at the ease some families can provide meals for others – and I’ve been on the receiving end of that love so many times. I have friends who can easily whip up a delicious dinner or casserole, sometimes in a day’s notice. These friends tell me it’s not like work for them, that it’s no big deal – I am in awe.

I’m not one of those women.

I think I’ve mentioned here before that cooking is a challenge for me. It’s not that I burn food or give my family salmonella – it just takes great effort to decide what foods to cook, and then (when that overwhelming task is complete) to actually cook those foods.

You can imagine, then, when the occasion arises to cook for someone other than my own family, how the task takes on epic proportions. I fret over color and consistency, amount and taste. All in all, it’s a bit of a struggle, mostly just because it doesn’t come naturally.

For me, those two dates of cooking for those dear families – they loomed large on the calendar.

Of course I was more than happy to help these people I love so much – and they were so grateful for the meals we provided. It is always nice when our efforts are appreciated.

But the truth is I would have gladly served in another way. Cleaning a bathroom or doing a load of laundry – these are household tasks that are easy for me, things I don’t mind doing (and actually really enjoy). When I’m asked to serve in that capacity, service is easy and fun!

Some days we are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus and it is wonderful and stress-free.

But at that moment, these families did not need their clothes washed or their bathrooms wiped down – they needed a meal. And so, I cooked.

Sometimes, in the midst of serving others, we have to push ourselves. There are times when we have to go the extra mile. In order to help someone in need, we might be called to do things that do not come naturally.

To be a servant does not guarantee we will be operating in our strong suit, not always. There are times when the service needed feels like more than we can (easily) provide. Sometimes service feels a lot like work.

When we push ourselves, sometimes it hurts—because helping out a neighbor or friend in the way they need is not always what we would choose, or how we might feel we could serve the best.

“I have found the paradox,” said Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, “that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.”

Some days, we are simply called to obey, to be Jesus to those around us through providing the service that is needed, not just the service that we want to give.

One of the best parts about service – besides helping someone in need – is that it really does something for us as well. Of course we don’t serve just to get something in return, but in the midst of serving others, there can be grace and there can be growth.

When we are willing to push ourselves past our comfort zone, Jesus can use that to help us be a better servant, and through that, to love him even more.

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