1 Peter 4: 8-10: And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
I have been doing some daily devotionals with a couple family members recently, and one touched on the fact that we are called to serve others, and through this we can find true feelings of purpose and security. Serving others has been a big topic on my mind lately. Giving of ourselves–using our time and talents to benefit and help others–is so important in life. Lent has just begun, and I’ve been a lot more of a homebody lately outside of general obligations, so I’ve started to feel that itch to do more for other people.
One thing I’ve always struggled with is finding bigger ways to serve others. I know that the little ways add up, but they also require a lot less effort and therefore are fulfilling in a smaller way. I love making a homemade card to send someone as a surprise to brighten their day, or to do a small chore for my parents that I know will help them, or to just give out compliments or encouragement on social media to friends and strangers. But, these are easy things, so I am trying to be better at seeking out more challenging ways to serve others if I can, or at least to be more open to going out of my way to help with a larger task or project where needed.
I know that I am not exactly in a position to serve people in very big ways at this point in my life, so I’m not exactly disappointed in myself for not being able to build a school in a third world country or donate large sums of money, but I do feel that keeping this topic in mind is important in challenging myself, and I don’t think those types of goals are all that unrealistic. One of my first blog posts was about stepping out of your comfort zone more often in order to grow as a person. I am very comfortable with doing small things for people on a daily basis, and that is wonderful, but that means that I can probably be doing more. When you become comfortable, it is time to move forward to the next level, and I want to keep that in mind for Lent. Whether it is using my talents to help my church or community, making more time to connect with others to offer support, or just trying to do a bit more of the daily small things, serving others is an important habit to keep.
I am very excited to participate in a new community on instagram that was just established with the goal of bringing together creative Orthodox Christian women: #astillsmallpoint. This is another way to serve, by bringing people together, fostering connections and a space to encourage/be encouraged. On Sunday evening, I attended the Forgiveness Sunday vespers service that I had not been to for several years, and it reminded me of the beauty and necessity of having a community of like-minded people to hold you accountable and to pray for you as you navigate life and all its challenges. I believe that someone praying for another person genuinely is the most beautiful, loving thing, so that is another way that I try to remember to serve others–by including them in my prayers. I think it is an even more profound, pure expression of love for someone when you pray for them without them asking; just because you care about them so much that you interrupt asking for your own help to make sure to ask God to help them also.
It’s funny to make this connection, but I have been watching Marvel’s Daredevil and the Defenders on Netflix with my parents lately, and that also kind of brings serving to mind. It helps that Daredevil/Matt Murdock is a Catholic, but when you think about it, superhero-type stories kind of center on the most extreme level of serving others–devoting your life to protecting (and potentially dying for) the lives of civilians. “Superheroes” have been given extraordinary gifts, and so they use those gifts in extraordinary ways to keep innocent people safe. That is pretty much the essence of the bible verse I quoted above: we are each given certain gifts, and the level of your gifts equals the level that you are expected to serve others.
Thank goodness I’m not a superhero…they don’t seem to get much sleep. 😉