There is a terrific blog that I follow called A Slob Comes Clean in which the author gives great tips, suggestions and advice that she discovers on her journey away from slobdom. In one of her blog posts, which I highly recommend you read (but only if you promise to finish reading this post when you are finished) she talks about how All Housekeeping Points Expire at Midnight. I don’t want to ruin her witty prose for you, but in short she explains how those of us who tend to have difficulty keeping our house clean sometimes are ruined by a productive day. I know for me, when I have worked really hard and made a huge improvement in one day in my home, I tend to waste away the next day. See, sometimes we tend to rest on the efforts of the past. We sometimes think that what we have already done gets us out of doing something else in the future.
As I was musing over this idea the other day I realized this thought can invade our service life as well as our housekeeping. Have you ever thought, “Someone should really (insert idea here), but I’m not going to because I already (insert heroic action here) so I’ve done enough”? No? I didn’t think so. Not you, I’m actually talking to that other person. You know, Her. She is the one who reminds everyone of the fact that she served faithfully in her church for 10 years, 20 years ago, so she doesn’t need to serve now. That is an extreme example. I am sure most of us would not be able to relate to that. But sometimes I am Her. Sometimes I think, I’ve done enough.
There is truth to that fact that we need to guard ourselves from overcommitment and from interfering with our family’s needs. We need to be sure we aren’t taking on roles that God intended someone else to do. Sometimes we fill a need that God doesn’t want us to fill because we aren’t listening, seeking His guidance. In doing so we interfere with a blessing God had intended for someone else. There are legitimate times not to serve.
But sometimes we are using our past service to excuse things we don’t want to do. Okay, again, not you, but her. I know I have been her. I have thought “I don’t need to volunteer to help with the Women’s Ministry Christmas dinner, because I have helped with Children’s Ministry.” I am certain that sometimes I have lost out on a blessing God had intended for me because I have used the excuse of past, or even current, service to avoid serving elsewhere.
God doesn’t put our skills, our gifts or our passions in a little box labeled “Children’s Ministry” or “Women’s Ministry” or even “Church Ministry”. God sends us opportunities to grow and be blessed disguised as service opportunities. It seems to me that it is a rare event when God uses us to do something but doesn’t have a plan to impact us in the process.
We do need to be aware of using “service” as a way to hide from the world or of taking on more than God is calling. But we need to stop using our past service as an excuse to avoid the next thing God is asking us to do. Or maybe that is just me.