It starts with that first ‘intentional motion”, stepping forward, focused on the object elevated and raised above your head to strike with force. A forward motion gripping the tool designed for just that purpose, moving the object of your focus swiftly forward, headed for that exact place you aimed for. Resulting in the success you anticipated, the culmination of practiced and orchestrated movements. The reward of intention, focus, effort, and purpose.
I will tell you I am not a particularly good tennis player, yet my appreciation for those who do it well is significant. The practice, the repetition, the determination and commitment speak volumes. My mind latched on to the first and maybe the single most important element of that entire process “The Serve”
As I began thinking about what the word serve means and how it applies to my analogy for life, I found the following definition:
To be- of service or use; function:
To meet- requirements or needs
To give- homage and obedience to
To render- or be of service to (a person, cause, etc.); help
To distribute- or provide
To provide- with a regular supply of
To work- actively for.
To pay- homage to: to serve God.
To answer- the requirements of: this will serve my purpose.
To go- through (a period of service, enlistment, imprisonment, etc.)
Action words, no expectation of something for self, no use of the words me, I, or my. I am looking for ways to improve, to move my purpose in life ahead, to make use of the resources and time God has provided to me. I have a sense that something is happening worldwide in regards to faith, purpose, and our calling as believers in Jesus Christ. A calling to step out, to be distinguishable from those who do not as yet believe, to be among the Faithful, those who understand obedience and the purpose of our salvation.
Luke 4:18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to preach the good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, release to the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lords favor.
Mark 10:45 For even the Son of God came not to have service rendered to him but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for ( instead of) many.
I will just confess I have become just worn down, frustrated, and dissatisfied with the way I have been going about living what I would call “my life”. At almost 60 years of age looking back I can see a few scratches in the pavement on the road of life where I may have made an impact, but nothing of what I would recognize as a real sustaining impact with long term value. I have come to realize in a dramatic way that having and acquiring things really makes no difference in the lives of the people closest to me, and certainly makes no difference in the lives of my neighbors, my community or my country.
Letting go of what’s familiar and comfortable is difficult, we all know that. Yet often times letting go of something may even be a necessity for growth. Letting go of behavior or ways of thinking that do not serve God, my family or others is critical. Stepping forward into intention, focus, effort, and purpose is necessary, but how?
First, for me it started with the realization that even as a believer in Jesus Christ obedience was not my strong suite. Sure in the big things but it became clear to me that often my self-will was placed above Gods will. Not in big bites but in small pieces. I will just tell you my stomach was upset as I began thinking about money specifically tithing. Even as a young man I understood the importance of tithing as a way of life from my family. Yet as an adult I would often convince myself the best course of action was to use what I had earned for me or my family’s needs. If something’s left then I will give that to “the church”. More times than not there was nothing left over simply because I never planned or committed to set aside anything for tithes.
Vilma and I began a few months ago to commit weekly to paying 10% of our gross earnings and pay it every Sunday. I admit sometimes my mind gave me other uses for that money but I did it anyway. For one I made a commitment not just an agreement that we would no matter what, not just if we could. For me this is that first step forward in obedience and focused on my “serve”
Next we began to look for those opportunities to serve, starting with our own family. We intentionally began to encourage them with positive input and recognition. Not just empty accolades but true recognition for the unique qualities you see in them. Character, determination, commitment, sense of purpose. Let me just be blunt if we can’t find those characteristics in our own spouse or children then we have failed to set the standard in ourselves. If that’s the case make the necessary changes immediately, and get started in the right direction. Who, how, and what you are is noticed and imprinted in our children’s minds. One of the greatest truths in our family is from a dream my mom had after my father passed away several years ago. My sister and I were struggling with some important challenges in our lives. Mom was not only dealing with the loss of Father and Husband but concerned for her children’s well being and how to help. In a dream one night mom saw a large TV screen and on it were written the words “just be faithful and your children will follow”. A simple yet elegant direction and encouragement in a time of critical need from God. Step out and forward be an example and a leader, just be faithful. Step out, step forward, and focus on the purpose “to serve” elevated above self.
Be willing to expand outside of your inner circle of influence. What about your neighbor who’s spouse passed away, and could use a kind word, or a few minutes of conversation. A friend or coworker who is going through a divorce, or a critical heath challenge. What about those who provide service to you at the checkout counter or restaurant. Start with a smile and a warm hello, let your heart guide and your spirit lead you to those in need. The opportunity’s to serve are endless and only limited to your willingness.
You have experienced it yourself now let it be a way of “life”.
Service – it’s a way of LIFE!
L-ive like who you are and what you do will make a difference
I-nvest in others daily
F-aith in God, your purpose and in others
E-levate your thinking
It starts with that first ‘intentional motion”, stepping out and towards others, focused on meeting a need or an opportunity to intervene on someone’s behalf, “Be led by the spirit not pushed by the flesh. Reach out speak softly of those things that heal. Kind words spoken honestly give birth to new hope”DLC.
Oh lord let my spirit find in The
A place to worship and in your presence be
Let me release those things held back in me
To no longer keep but trust and give to The
That which you promised in my soul to keep
A longing for your presence my soul does leap
I prayerfully ask that your Spirit be
Displayed for all and present in me
Guide me direct me to in your presence be
A vessel of kindness, prayer, and compassion from The
Let my daily bread be from the source we seek
It is you Lord the giver of all that makes us complete
I bow my head on bended knees
Even when I don’t know or see my need
Your faithfulness love and care
With joy I do share
So for others in need
At your feet may we intercede
God’s promises are true and beyond compare
Fulfillment, and peace and a heart to share
So great a salvation our sins He did bear
That you and I may in His presence be
All our days throughout eternity.
May God bless your life as you pursue Him.
May Gods love and kindness direct you as we are renewed and strengthened
As he does a new thing in our lives, the journey to our new life is on foot,
Led by the Spirit and Gods Word, to serve Him, and others.
Dwight L. Carter Sr.
God will be with us, He will help us, bringing us through victoriously as we obey Him.