I thought about how I could bless someone else before I thought about what I wanted. If a friend was in need, I would sacrifice my own desires in order to be there for them. I was open and listening to the nudgings of the Holy Spirit, even though adjusting my own plans was an inconvenience.
I had a heart to serve others. But it appears I had an undiagnosed heart attack along the way.
These days, serving others seems to be the exception to the rule.
The rule: Convenience, comfort, my plans, my timeline... Self.
My schedule is pretty full, so instead of dropping the housework in order to join a friend at the playground we fumble around trying to schedule a coffee/play date in a gap in our calendars. I don't have any $1 or $2 coins handy - only the $50 bill I've set aside to put in a wedding card - so I tell the man humbly begging for money in the grocery store parking lot that I'm sorry. I've grown weary and discouraged of being the sole initiator in a couple relationships, so I just gave up and let go.
Sure, there have been moments mixed in there... Moments of generosity, of self-sacrifice, of offering up my time and resources to serve others. But having spent great lengths of time in a culture of 'giving life' to others, I'm no longer satisfied with moments.
The occasional generosity lesson won't teach me all that God wants me to learn; I need full immersion.
The longer we walk with God, the more willingly we serve and obey Him, the less satisfied we become with a life that is anything less than radical.
We grow restless when we feel 'settled,' because we've experienced the Holy Spirit inspired rush that comes with living a life of sacrifice. We are dissatisfied with mediocre, for our hearts have lived the passionate outpouring of full-out serving God and others.
So as I seek (once again) to live a life that leaves me unsettled but inspired, self-sacrificial but passionate, uncomfortable yet wildly blessed, this verse thrums in my spirit...
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
~ Philippians 2:3-4
Do nothing...nothing...not even one thing. Value others above yourself. Do nothing - no, not a single thing - with selfish motivations. Nothing...
It's a challenge issued to us - believers. A challenge to "up our game." To serve wholeheartedly rather than half-heartedly. To be willing to give up some self for the love of others.
I've decided to accept the challenge. Will you?