You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free.
But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh;
rather, serve one another humbly in love.
This verse is so meaningful after spending a couple of days with our Wounded Warriors. You see, I have never seen myself in the same light as Christians who selflessly serve God as missionaries in far-off lands. I have always admired them and felt that I could never achieve that kind of service to my God, or that I was too unworthy for Him to use me in that capacity.
Mind you, I wanted to have that kind of heart, but never felt pulled in that direction. Then one day, God placed the opportunity right square in front of me --- there was no place to hide and no way to avoid the call. My friend, Betty, who seems to have an innate gene for service, called me and said she had received a call to go serve our Wounded Warriors and wondered if I'd like to join this group called Angel Chefs. We would be leaving the next day for three days... was I in or was I out?
I'm a pretty spontaneous person, but the Devil tried to squelch my excitement by reminding me that I had blog posts to write and obligations to PLW's business, etc., etc. Well, PLW said, "You have to go", to which I replied "I want to go!" and the rest is history.
I can now truly say that any Scripture which references serving others has new meaning since my first foray into service ministry. I have realized that if I truly want to serve God, I have to serve others. And if I didn't know exactly how to do that, I had the perfect example in Jesus.
One of the most powerful illustrations of Jesus's service to others is given to us by the Apostle John when he tells us that on the night before his death, after the evening meal, Jesus takes off his outer robe, wraps a towel around his waist, and proceeds to wash the dust off the feet of his students.
The disciples ask Him, "What are you doing? You shouldn't be washing our feet!" But Jesus tells them He is doing it as an example for them (and for us); we should serve as He served them.
And as Paul tells us in today's Scripture, we have the freedom and the choice to serve. But most of us (myself included) choose to serve our own sinful desires. It is easier, more comfortable, and who doesn't want to enjoy the gratification of our own desires? But through my experiences with the Wounded Warriors, I have found that I am happier and more peaceful when I act outside myself and am doing for others. I'm not caught up in my own petty concerns, but instead find delight in helping and connecting with others.
I lose a little more of my sinful nature and become a little more like Jesus. I have a long way to go, but it is a step in the right direction. I may not ever receive the rewards in heaven of those who endanger their lives to serve God, but I hope He will recognize that my heart has been humbled, and that I have loved the opportunity of serving my fellow man.