We should try to enjoy the joy of serving

Published 6:56pm Friday, November 4, 2011

By REV. JAMES SCARBOROUGH

Donalsonville Assembly of God

The unexpected is not uncommon in my life, although I must admit that not all of the unexpected experiences that come my way are pleasant. To learn of unexpected sickness, death or other hardships that someone is facing can be painful. But occasionally, some unexpected event comes along that is an absolute joy. I had one of those last week.

While in town attending to business, a car pulled in by me. I did not recognize the car, but the driver called my name and introduced herself to me. She lost no time in getting to what she really wanted: she wanted to help with an event that our local churches will be sponsoring soon. What a pleasant and unexpected surprise for someone to offer a helping hand without even being asked! I hope my shock did not overshadow my gratitude for her generous offer.

I do not have to remind anyone that we live in such a busy, fast-paced and demanding society that it becomes too easy to get so absorbed in what we are doing for ourselves that we fail to make ourselves available to others. I had a reality check on that a few days ago while I was out of town visiting in a nursing home. As I sat down at the table with several precious elderly ladies, one of them went to work on me letting me know that I had come into her presence during a recent visit and did not say anything to her. Even though it had been several days since that incident, she relayed to me in good detail what had transpired. The excuse that I offered for my oversight was not acceptable to her, but I was relieved when she said she had forgiven me.

It would have probably been of no avail if I had tried to explain to that dear lady what I was there for the day that I committed the unthinkable oversight of not speaking to her. Nevertheless, her rebuke, warranted or not, did cause me to remind myself that I will probably do well to not get so caught up in my plans that I fail to be sensitive to the needs of others. Obviously none of us can meet all the expectations of everyone, but we do need to make it our practice to be available to joyfully serve others as often as we can.

Serving others with a sincere heart is a source of great joy and fulfillment in life, as well as a tremendous way to bring honor to Christ. Paul, a servant of God, an influential person in the early church and a writer of a good portion of the New Testament, recorded concerning himself in Acts 20:35, “In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’” (New International Version).

Serving God by serving others brings a joy and fulfillment that is inexpressible. Try making yourself available to help someone in need without being asked. Your offer might surprise someone as much as I was the other day, and it will be a great way to invest in God’s work.

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