For every Thursday night this summer, I’m helping out with a kids’ program at a church, playing the piano, assisting with crafts, etc. I’ve done VBS and other similar programs in the past, so this isn’t anything new to me. In fact, I love these opportunities to work with kids while presenting the Gospel or talking about God’s Word.
Tonight, I was cleaning up the craft supplies by myself while everyone else did their activities in the other room.
(Edit: I wrote this last night. But it was too late to post it. Carry on.)
It was pretty quiet, though I could hear the noise from the other room. And I hate to admit this, but I began to grumble in my heart.
I didn’t want to be there, cutting paper in an empty room by myself. I’ve had a rough week, and the last thing I wanted to do was to waste my time on a project that some little kid would probably lose within the week anyway.
They would never know that I had taken time from my busy schedule to come and serve them in a little way that didn’t seem to count for anything. It was a tiny act that would go unappreciated for all of eternity.
And that’s when it kind of hit me.
This is what serving looks like.
I hadn’t ever grumbled working at VBS or the other programs. I had had kids that adored me, I worked alongside friends, and I had seen positive results and feedback. It was fun. Good came out of it that I was able to see with my own eyes. Why should I complain?
But tonight, it was different.
This wasn’t fun. I didn’t know anyone. I wasn’t seeing any positive results. I was alone in a room in the back of the church, cutting paper for a kid who I didn’t even know what they looked like.
I was serving.
Albeit that I wasn’t serving in that moment with the best attitude, but that was service. And it was real service.
There wasn’t anything in it for me. I didn’t benefit in any way, shape, or form. Yet I was there for a purpose – to selflessly serve others.
That’s not to say that serving can’t be fun! I’ve been in several instances where serving is a joy, and it’s a blast to serve when you can see positive results and work alongside friends.
But not every service is going to be “fun”.
And that’s okay.
The key is the heart attitude. It’s not about the capacities or departments we serve in so much as it is who and how we serve. Tonight, I was not serving God. My grumbling heart was not a pleasing offering to my Savior! I was not working for Him with a joyful heart that was turned toward serving Him by serving others.
This probably isn’t anything you didn’t already know, but it was something that sort of hit me tonight. “Work hard and cheerfully at all you do, just as though you are working for the Lord” – it’s where the heart is.
I just have to add real quickly, service isn’t going to be a huge act every time. It’s not always going on a mission trip, or volunteering at a convention. It’s in the small, self-denying acts too. They count just as much. For me, that looks like doing something with my brother instead of getting on the computer, or watching my youngest brother so my mom can rest instead of going off to write. “Service” isn’t just the large, glamorous deeds.