Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms.
-I Peter 4:10, NIV
Over the years, one of my favorite fast food restaurants to visit is known for its excellent customer service. In fact, whenever one of the employees finishes a sale, they have been trained to say, "My pleasure." What a great choice of words! I have to admit I flinch when I thank someone for giving me the food I purchased and they say, "No problem." So, how do we interact with others - especially when we are serving them in some way? Do we think of serving others as "My pleasure" or "No problem?"
For three of the next four Sundays, I will be sharing a new series of messages called, "Those Who Serve - Teachers, Mothers, and Soldiers." Each week we will be looking at what it means to serve. We will also look at those teachers, mothers, and soldiers who serve so well.
When it comes to service, I don't think serving comes naturally to many of us. Even for those who do it well and seem to enjoy it, my guess is that unless it happens to be their spiritual gift, someone taught them how to joyfully serve others somewhere along the way. Yet, as followers of Christ, Paul says in the words above that each one of us "should use whatever gift" we have received "to serve others . . ." Jesus says that when we do these kinds of things, especially for "the least of these" -- it is as if we are doing them for Jesus himself.
Serving others is usually a choice we can make. Sometimes it is pride that gets in the way of our willingness to serve. We may think we are better than this. But, then we remember that Jesus is the greatest example of one who chose to serve others in the name of love.
Prayer for Today
(This is part of a prayer by Mother Teresa)
Sweetest Lord, make me appreciative of the dignity of my high vocation, and its many responsibilities. Never permit me to disgrace it by giving way to coldness, unkindness, or impatience. And O God, while you are Jesus my patient, deign also to be to me a patient Jesus, bearing my faults, looking only to my intention, which is to love and serve you. . . . Amen.