If you’ve read the title of this, I’m sure you have been struck by the appealing description I give myself. If only it were less than true. I am not a servant. I don’t like the idea of serving. I enjoy doing activities categorized as service, but not primarily because they are a way that I can lay down my life and desires for others. I do it because I enjoy it, like I said, and because it makes me feel important and necessary and because it is also something I do well in most cases.
Now all of this makes sense at some level, but that doesn’t necessary make me godly for what I do, certainly not for why I do it. I am just doing what comes naturally to me and while there appears to be nothing wrong with that at first glance–which is as far as I’ve been willing to go in examination up until now–there is something wrong, or perhaps I should say there is something not right about it all.
I’m not completely clear on all this, but what I’ve gathered so far is that all is not right when I easily assume that I’m just okay. It’s not enough to rate myself by how I feel when I am doing something “good” or by how others honor me when I do it. I need to know what is good in its purest form and then understand how I measure up against it.
Learning to walk with Christ, and in consequence, be a servant, is not about automatically performing a task or rite that will get us those five gold stars we crave as quickly as possible. When we get the Christian life down to a science we lose. We become stale “lifers” who really know nothing about being a Christian except that we are one.
I think being a Christian and knowing Christ–the one thing this life must be about–is more about mystery than we would like it to be. We strain for comfort so much that we introduce it when God does readily accommodate us. We do what we are supposed to, but we do it in a way that is all us. We essentially brand our actions with the personal identifiers that will make it impossible for anyone to miss the fact that we are in line for our reward.
But, could this behavior be keeping us from the very Reward we are promised? How is it even possible to recognize Christ as our reward and the reason we do everything if we are doing what we do simply as the outgrowth of actions we know will get us what we want?
Obviously this is a question of motivation, less obviously this is a gracious invitation for transformation made to us by our Maker. Will we be delighted in Christ authentically unless we can authentically put Him forth as our delight and motivation for service and obedience that strips us of our delight in mere fleshly treats?
I don’t think so. That’s why I can’t stay where I am. I must move with all my might of spirit toward self-depreciating works that scorch my flesh and draw me closer to Christ.