One of the most real life examples of service and sacrifice in my own life, is my mother. For that reason, this blog is dedicated to her.
Parent or not, everyone would agree that being a mother takes sacrifice. Nine months of sacrifice before they ever get to meet their child and then a lifetime, afterwards. I might be a tad bit biased, but I am willing to argue that I have one of the most service oriented and sacrificial moms out there. Seriously, how many daughters can say that they share identical, matching tattoos with their mother? We’ll get back to that later.
As I was thinking about my next post, I knew I wanted to write about my mother because her birthday was yesterday. Obviously, one of the first ideas that popped into my head was service. I could write an entire blog post about all of the ways my mom has shown her love for me through service. As this topic was on my mind, I sat down to do my devotional for the day and it lined up perfectly with the idea of service forming in my head. I love it when God supplies me with inspiration through my devo. “”I read My Utmost For His Highest by Oswald Chambers, a lot of the ideas in this post come straight from his February, 23/24 entry.””
My senior year of high school, my mom was leading a small group of high school aged girls. I specifically remember one lesson she taught about how we must love God before anything else, in order love people to the best of our ability. After many conversations with my mom, we had both agreed that while ministry may not be our occupation, it was definitely our biggest passion. We neither one felt called to a certain career or job but we knew that we had a love for God and wanted to share that love with people.
That exact thought was the inspiration for what me and my mother have permanently tattooed on our bodies. Mark 12:30
Here’s a few pictures showing off our matching tattoos.
“Love the Lord you God with all of your heart, with all of your soul, with all of your mind and with all of your strength.”
Oswald Chambers says it this way, talking about Paul’s service to others,
“But the chief motivation behind Paul’s service was not love for others but love for his Lord. If our devotion is to the cause of humanity, we will be quickly defeated and brokenhearted since we will often be confronted with a great deal of ingratitude from other people. But if we are motivated by our love for God, no amount of ingratitude will be able to hinder us from serving one another.”
Our service to others has to come from an overflow of our love for God. No matter how determined we are, we will never love or serve to our fullest potential, if our motivation comes from any other source.
How hard is it to continue to serve when you feel like you aren’t being appreciated? Think for a moment about how Jesus felt in John chapter 13. This was the last meal Jesus would share with his disciples before he would be betrayed and crucified. Knowing what was about to happen, what did Jesus do? He washed his disciples feet. A true act of service.
Now, I know that example was a little extreme. We will probably never come face to face with someone who will shortly hand us over to be killed. But, my point is this; service is incredibly important to God, and news flash, we aren’t any better than those disciples who stood by and watched Jesus get crucified.
Again, Oswald Chambers says it like this,
“Once we realize that Jesus has served us even to the depths of our meagerness, our selfishness, and our sin, nothing we encounter from others will be able to exhaust our determination to serve others for his sake.”
Take heart! No matter how poorly you are treated, if your motivation is found in Christ and all that he has done for you, you can press on!
Along with serving others, God calls us to sacrifice; just like he did.
Sacrifice is an interesting concept, dictionary.com defines it this way: the surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim.
I really liked this definition. in order to consider something a sacrifice, something of value must be given up. God gave up his one and only, perfect son. Sacrifice.
“Once the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, we deliberately begin to identify ourselves with Jesus Christ’s interests and purposes in others’ lives.” – Oswald Chambers
Sacrifice means putting someone else’s interests ahead of your own. That is what Paul is talking about in 1 Corinthians 9:22 when he says, “I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” Paul deemed other peoples salvation more valuable than his personal goals or interests.
We cannot be interested in our own goals. We must totally surrender our goals to God so that we can be used by him. We have to learn to put others before ourselves without resenting it and we can only do that when our only motivation in life is devotion to Jesus.
My mom says she has always wanted a tattoo, but I know that she probably would have never gotten one unless I asked her to get one with me. (We all know she just wants to be like me) Anyways, I digress, I am not telling all moms to go get matching tattoos with their daughters, but my mother made a sacrifice for me. A pretty permanent and painful one. Sometimes, that’s exactly what it takes.
My mother has been an incredible example of service and sacrifice in my own life and I know that her motivation goes beyond her love for her children and her love for people. Her motivation is fueled by her love for God.
I am thankful for her example in my life and I am thankful for the example that our Savior set for us. Our God is love.
I encourage you to love him first with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength and then love others well!
Be encouraged friends,
“Do yourself a service and live your life in sacrifice to Christ” – Ramsey Hundley