“When We Don’t Feel Like Serving” by Hayley Hutchins
Family, church is a hospital for sick people, so I feel like I can be transparent with you. I confess that sometimes I don’t feel like serving. Though in theory I desire to be obedient to my God and show care to my community, in practice sometimes I drag my feet when it comes to the heavy lifting that entails. I am selfish, and that means that sometimes my heart is not about the things I want it to be about.
So I went to paint at Stadium School at the end of May and I am ashamed to say I was reluctant to go. I tried to give myself a pep talk about how fun painting is and how fast time would pass. I thought of what I sometimes pray over the tithes and offerings on Sunday mornings, that it is a PRIVILEGE and an HONOR to partner with God to reach people. I asked the Holy Spirit to help me get my heart right, because I didn’t want to be stationed in front of a wall with a paintbrush in hand going through the motions without a worshipful heart. But if I’m honest, it was a struggle to show up. Nevertheless, a trippy thing happened once I arrived: my heart slowly warmed with joy. I worked alongside my small group, deepening the community we’re building through our weekly Bible study together. I worked alongside my brother and sister, meeting their friends from their ministry teams. I worked alongside students from the youth group, who brought me into their inside jokes. It was a balm to my shy soul to meet and reacquaint myself with people I don’t always see on a Sunday morning. I want to think that my relationship with Christ is a pole, Him on one end and me on the other, connected by the Holy Spirit, but actually His people are part of that relationship, too, because we are instruments of His care and encouragement to each other.
Furthermore, it was deeply cathartic to put my hands to work so that my actions match my words. I believe that God has purpose for our church in this partnership with Stadium School! I believe that this service project was about more than just a paint job! I believe that service is worship! And if I believe that, I need to live like I believe that. When we do what God’s word says, we experience oneness with Christ, and that closeness with Him is worth any sacrifice of time or comfort.
I don’t know how long my selfish heart will resist when these opportunities to serve present themselves. I know many are blessed to have hearts that are soft and ready and willing and enthusiastic. I am so thankful for and encouraged by these people! If this is your heart, cherish this gift! I cherish you! But however long my heart insists on fighting me down the road on the way to give my time and efforts in service of God’s mission, God’s grace and goodness will continue intervening: softening me to keep going, enlivening the work to make it fruitful, and gifting my spirit with the joy that comes from living life on mission.