Welcome! Welcome!

Serving Others (05/22/2011) To Publications / Articles - Serving Others (05/22/2011)

Posted 7/16/14
Desiree Wiles

I am passionate about participating in acts of service for others. It is not something that comes easy for me, and like many traditional American families, I struggle to find the time to give to anything outside of my daily obligations. But I realize it is the primary way God uses to make me more like Him. I am planning to lead a service project for YWAM (youth with a mission) in Cascade, Idaho and in order to do so, I am going to miss my 4 children's end of the season soccer tournament, leaving my husband scrambling to get them to 8 different games, coaching 2 of them. Although I do not want to miss this big day, I do want my children to see me sacrificing some of my time to work for and serve a cause bigger than me and bigger than them. I watch moms and dads (I am one of them) shuttle their children from one activity to the next (gymnastics, dance, drama, kids camp, choir, karate, band, swimming, soccer, basketball, football, volleyball, skiing, snowboarding, wrestling, tennis, track, youth group, church clubs, Girls' Clubs, Boys' Clubs, Christmas parties, Easter egg hunts, Valentine's parties, trick-or-treating, field trips, play dates, vacations to the coast, Disneyland, Hawaii, etc...) and I can't help but wonder how much good we really do them by making the world (or at least our lives) revolve around them. It seems to me like we are creating such a kid-centered life that we have no time for anything else and our children have no value for things that don't involve them. The results are overwhelmed, unfulfilled, irritated parents and selfish, disrespectful, egocentric children. 

Cliff Williams, a dear pastor friend of ours who died of Lou Gehrig's disease, challenged everyone around him to live life to the fullest. He once said that busy stands for "Being Under Satan's Yoke" - and that as Christians, we must know how to slow down, build relationships, and invest in the eternal. I have never called myself "busy" since. When we are too busy with temporal tasks and activities to devote any time for investing in the kingdom of God, we are not maximizing our "talents". Another pastor, a college buddy of my husband who travels all over speaking to youth, refers to it as "the ingrown toenail syndrome" and explains that when we become so introverted and self-focused that we have no time to help anyone in need and we no longer reach out to impact the community, we get irritated, sore, start to fester and become infected. In her book "America By Heart", Sarah Palin laments the lack of fortitude and character of today's youth. She wrote, "we may be creating a generation of entitled little whiners" and she quotes employers who explained that young adults have been raised being the center of someone's attention, so continuously affirmed and positively reinforced that they enter the real world needy for more approval. She goes on to emphatically declare that families must not "confuse hard-earned self-esteem with unearned self-regard". Further in the book she presents an excerpt from Booker T. Washington's autobiography "Up From Slavery" that describes his change of perspective about serving, "..I got my first taste of what it meant to live a life of unselfishness, my first knowledge of the fact that the happiest individuals are those who do the most to make others useful and happy." Recent statistics reveal that an astonishing 78% - 85% of "Christian" kids who enter college reject the faith and religion of their parents. I think it may be in part due to a perceived hypocrisy - the absence of faith "lived out" in the wholehearted service to others.

As a Christian, this life cannot be all about me. It can't even be all about my husband and children. It must be all about Jesus and what He has called me to do. He tells us to be like Him and He gave us the greatest example of serving. He has given me "talents" and expects me to invest them until He returns. I don't want every moment of my life to be spent doing things connected to money/paycheck, my job, recognition, my health and beauty regimen, my education, my entertainment, and my daily responsibilities. I want some of my time (and my family's time) given to humble, thankless, even dirty and difficult tasks simply to help, improve or promote the life of someone else and work for a cause bigger than all of us. We do much of that within the daily operations of a home, serving one another as a family, and my primary focus as a wife and mother is to serve my husband and children. But it starts to come full circle when we begin serving alongside one another and realizing the bigger, eternal picture. My family and I are fortunate to live in a neighborhood with 3 widows and 2 elderly couples around us. We consider it a joy to serve them by pulling weeds, shoveling sidewalks and driveways, planting trees and flowers, raking leaves, driving to appointments, fixing broken stuff, cooking meals, baking goodies, sending notes, listening to stories, and praying for them. Rarely do these tasks come at convenient times. They often interrupt our set schedule but we do them anyway. We hope to demonstrate our love for them in the things we do - not just the words we say. It is good for my children to watch me use my time, talent and treasure to serve others beyond my "four walls" - and better yet, to join me in these endeavors as fellow servants of Christ. As Pastor Monty Sears says, "None of us can do what all of us can do!" In the olden days, it was called "barn raising" - and the children jumped in to assist their parents as they worked and served. I want to do some modern day barn raising as a team of servants to meet someone's need - to help build their "barn" - because I know that the reward is happiness now and joy eternal.

God bless you as you serve Him by serving others - whatever you do - It's what makes you shine!

All my love,

Desiree Wiles

Scripture Support:

"But seek first the kingdom of God..." Matthew 6:33

"Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this..." James 1:27

"...faith without works is dead." James 2:20

"Well done good and faithful servant..."Matthew 25:14-30

"...whoever desires to be great must be a servant." Mark 10:43

"...a servant is not greater than his master." John 13:12-17