How to find JOY in serving

My job as a copywriter has led me to interview many, many people — mostly dentists. I’ve heard some strange things in these phone interviews. From husbands and wives bickering over business to doctors making unethical statements to their staff, the things I hear make me feel like a priest. I should be sworn to secrecy. One thing that throws me for a loop every time is when a dentist tells me not to use the word “serve” in regards to what he and his staff do for patients. The implication, in the doctor’s mind, is that a servant is below him. In my mind, I certainly serve my clients, with humility and thankfulness. This attitude can only come from Christ, because I know my human nature will always choose selfishness and pride.

The bible tells us to also serve others, not just those who are paying us. Jesus stepped down from heaven to serve us in the greatest way possible. He took our sin as his own so that we can be righteous in the sight of God. So, Christ set the ultimate example.

Luke 12:32 is one of my favorite verses: “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”

Jesus paying the ultimate sacrifice resulted in something that brings God great pleasure. Jesus cried tears of blood in the Garden of Gethsemane. His sacrifice was a burden that he did not want to take on — he was human but had no sin. His desire to get out of the service (of a painful and humiliating death that would have God turn his eyes from Christ for a moment) was tremendous. He cried blood!

However, the pleasure, the joy the Trinity gained by the sacrifice was worth the ultimate sacrifice. Our salvation is what Jesus’ obedient service earned. That alone is reason to serve with joy for the rest of our lives!

Now this is the most extreme example of service bringing joy, but God is a most extreme God.

But I Don’t Want To

I look at what my will is, in regards to service. If I am asked to do something I do not much want to do, but it’s for a good cause, I feel:

  • selfish
  • guilty
  • bothered
  • pressured

This leads to me being sneaky, manipulative, or even lying to get out of the service I’ve been asked to perform.

However, if I look at the service as a gift to God and his saints, I feel:

  • joy
  • honored
  • peace
  • love

This leads to me performing the service with a smile, in humble thankfulness to be a blessing to God and my fellow heavenly family members.

I’m telling the complete and total truth when I say this. When I didn’t want to read the bible, I prayed to have a desire to read the bible. A few years later, I’ve been spending an average of 2 hours a day reading and studying the word, and I crave it. I love it! That’s God, my friends. The same is true of serving. If you don’t want do, pray that your heart will change and you will want to!

I Can Pretend, But the Truth Is, I Still Don’t Want To

Sure, we are supposed to perform service with joy, but is it always possible? We’re just human!

Yes, with God all things are possible. We are ambassadors for Christ! Joy, peace, and love come from the Holy Spirit, which is right inside of us, ready for us to access at any time. You don’t have because you don’t ask, according to Jesus. If you want to feel differently about serving, just ask Jesus to change your heart — to give you spiritual eyes and ears so that you can feel the JOY. Ask the Holy Spirit to send out a wellspring of JOY in your heart as you serve. If we set our minds on things above, and we think not of what we’re missing out on (doing what we want instead of serving), we are blessed, and richly so, and in a way that can’t completely be described with words. It’s a soul blessing.

Taking food to a neighbor, a mourning family, or even a stranger who’s just come home from the hospital results in deeper, more meaningful relationships, and even better, the recipients see God’s Church in action, practicing what we preach.

I’ve found that volunteering is always the most rewarding when I have engagement with the end recipient. This idea was first brought to me when I did The 7 Experiment by Jen Hatmaker. Service is even better when I pray and thank God on the way to and from the event/place. I’ve seen this to be so in serving at:

Administrators are needed behind the scenes, of course, and I’ve done my fair share of that work. But seeing the fruit of the labor enriches the spirit and soul!

I have never been on a mission trip. I’m not much of a traveler, and I never know if I’m gong to have a healthy day or a painful day, so I keep my service local. However, I do participate in Kiva, with a Christian Investors group. Kiva allows me to invest just $25 at a time into a small business in a third-world country. I get to read about the business owners, learning their goals and where they live, then select which ones I want to invest in. The money is paid back — it is a loan — and I can then recycle it into another business. The opportunity to read about the businesses, see pictures of the business owners’ faces, and pray for them brings JOY.

The same is true with VOM, Voice of the Martyrs, a ministry that helps persecuted Christians across the globe. This organization puts out books with stories of the people my donations serve. I have maps that show where persecution is occurring and a prayer guide that tells me what they need prayer for. It is awesome, rewarding, fulfilling, and eye-opening. The VOM stories are like reading what happened to Paul in ancient times. But it’s modern day! What JOY it brings to know that my small financial donation and daily prayers are going to serve my persecuted sisters and brothers, whom I’ll meet one day in heaven, praise the Lord!

I want to urge myself and you to serve God’s people and also the unsaved, as an Ambassador of Christ. With prayer, supplication, and thanksgiving, seek joy from the Holy Spirit in your service! No television show, nap, or shopping trip can bring the deep satisfaction that serving for Christ brings.



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