A Downton Abbey Epiphany
My word for 2017 is "SERVE". I never know how my word for the year is going to play out but OH BOY! Let me tell you! It has me getting out of my comfort zone big time and being brave to do BIG THINGS! Serving others is much more than just volunteering or doing something for someone. It’s allowing God to STRETCH you to do the kind of dynamic stuff that scares the you know what out of you, so the whole world is better for it. Serving this year for me has me realizing how deep the phrase “this life is not my own” really can go!
One of my favorite shows of all time is Downton Abbey. Yes, I shed many a tear on Sundays watching this intriguing, British, drama series. There is something quite fascinating about how the upper-class Crawleys lived among the lower-class servants of the house and watching their very contrasting lives converge upon another. The servants devoted everything to this family in exchange for work and a home. The majority of them didn't own anything of real value of their own and yet they were thought to be incredibly blessed to be working for the Crawley family on the posh Grantham estate. Because of their socioeconomic status, servants were not born into money, honor or favor. Everything they had, they had because of this family who provided it for them in exchange for their service of whatever skills, talents or jobs they could perform.
It got me thinking one day about this life that I live and furthermore, this life I’ve been given. Everything I’ve been given from the Father, has been freely given. I do not have to work for it. But, what do I offer back to Him in exchange for all He’s blessed and supplied me with, both material and non-material? Really, this life given to me is something to treasure and strive to experience all there is for me to experience, good, bad and ehhhhhhverything in between! But, am I actually fully SERVING The One who has been gracious enough to breathe life into me?
I think that for a very large part of my life, I looked at the word "serve" to be limited to volunteering and giving my time to help at church, or maybe an outreach of some sort. Serving at your local church and the like is wonderful, and I absolutely think it is important to be involved in that way. But, in relation to how much the below-the-stairs staff served the entire Grantham estate, which was pretty much a devotion of their whole lives, I wonder if many of us are doing the same in devoting our whole lives unto God and His Kingdom. God has instilled in every single one of us, into even you, specific abilities to do more than you may currently think or have allowed yourself to imagine. When I started "serving" in the church I was a teenager doing puppet shows for the kids services and singing on the youth praise and worship team. I loved it, and it was a fantastic way for me to begin learning about the ministry of helps within the church. However, I feel that many of us become very complacent with serving in the church and not moving beyond the comforts of being used to minister to other Christians. Meaning, there is a whole world of people who may never come to know Christ because many of us have limited our "service" to what we do within the walls of the church.
I used to to think that as long as I volunteered to sing at church and help with this event and that event that I was fulfilling the will of God for my life, and that was enough. But I have realized within the last five years or so, that there is so much more with my life which God desires to use. It has taken me so far outside of my level of comforts and convenience to devote myself to WHATEVER and HOWEVER, God desires to use my life; not just in exchange for the life He's given me, but also in obedience to many of the "outside-the-box" type of work He has instructed me to perform to reach people and draw them closer to a saving knowledge of Christ. Writing was NEVER something I EVER thought I'd find myself doing. When I said, "yes" to writing my first project, "The Identity of Purity: A Teenage Girl's Guide to Sexual Purity", I was so clueless and had no idea why in the world, of all people who could do this, God was asking me to serve in this way. It was somewhat shocking when God began using me, one who used to hoard Oreos and had no desire to exercise in any way, to share health and inspire people to live a healthier lifestyle. But you know, My Friend, that's the way God fulfills His amazing, creative ability in each and every one of us. He calls us to serve and do things that He's already given us unique abilities to do for the building of His children and His Kingdom.
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” - Ephesians 2:10 KJV
If you could only dynamite your box of how He can use you, and truly devote yourself to the endless good works He has for you to do, you may just look at your life and be in sheer awe of the creativity of God! Don't limit yourself to the familiar ways to serve others. There are new things God would like to do in you and through you! Your life and service to God are not only significant to bringing others into the Kingdom, it inspires others to think bigger and allow themselves to also rise above the easy, familiar stuff and fulfill ALL of God's plan for their lives!
You are unique. You are talented. You were called to be more than average. You were called to serve in every way possible, so that your very presence in this universe is pivotal to the will of no man and his earthly estate, but to the will of God Almighty and His eternal kingdom.
Set your sights higher. Dig deeper. Explore new things. Serve your Master with everything within you, without limitation. There are people who need you to realize just how awesome God made you to be. Isn't it time you showed them?