Can We Get a Little Service?


I’m looking forward to reading a book set to release in October called Embracing Obscurity.  It’s written by “an established Christian author electing to remain anonymous.” From what I can tell, the basic gist of it is this: God isn’t looking for superstars; he’s looking for anonymous nobodies.  He’s looking for people who will labor in quiet anonymity.  Here’s an excerpt:


One evening, while watering the garden, the sheer sacrifice of true service overwhelmed me. There amongst the tomatoes and parsley, I realized that most of my previous attempts at service were very much like the garden hose in my hand: I was in control, dictating how, when, and to whom I would serve. With my nifty sprayer, I could even stop the water altogether when I felt like it. The "flow" of Christ's love that I gave to others depended on my mood, the health of my career, and even how much sleep I got the night before. Mine was (and still often is) a self-righteous, self-gratifying service.


In contrast, I noticed a soaker hose in the planter across from me. It watered the ground completely indiscriminately. Dozens of holes let the water loose and had no shut-off switch. Life-giving water oozed out all over the place, like it or not! To serve like a soaker hose means to pour out Christ's love from every pore of our beings, not concerning ourselves with the timing, the effect it might have on our productivity, or the worthiness of the recipients. If God has "turned on the water" in our lives, filling us with his life-giving springs, why would we hold them back from anyone? For fear of running out? Doesn't he have an infinite supply of living water?


This Sunday, we’re talking about the next in our set of monthly spiritual disciplines.  September’s discipline is “service.” As best I can figure, true servants are like that soaker hose.  They are indiscriminate when it comes to deciding when or whom to help.  They just allow God’s grace go where it will and serve anyone.


To be a servant like that is to practice a discipline.  It’s not easily done.  It takes practice. And, perhaps better than any other discipline, it has the power to shape us into the image of Christ.


Robert Lee