“Serve the Lord with gladness…”
This morning, when I read this over a half cup of lukewarm coffee, it made me wonder something.
How in the world do I serve the Lord?
It sounds ridiculous, but my internal, knee-jerk response was, “I don’t. I don’t serve the Lord. I serve my children.”
Quite literally, when you are surrounded by little people with big needs, you do begin to feel just like that– a servant. Their immediate needs take over any time slots mentally assigned to other tasks and you find yourself repeating the quotation ascribed to C.S. Lewis…
It takes only a couple of seconds to make the mental connection that appropriately serving my children is, actually, serving the Lord Himself. Jesus bid them come, and told us that our faith needed to be like their’s to enter heaven. We are also told that a cup of water given in His name is giving it to the Savior Himself.
I’m assuming countless sippy cups of milk count, too.
But then the follow-up question makes me pause as my eyes re-read the verse.
Do I serve Him (them) with *gladness*?
It’s a strong word.
To be honest, there are times that is the case. Where, when manners are appropriately applied and sweet smiles thank me for my service, I do feel gladness in the serving. But as any parent can attest, these moments can be unicorns in the early years of demands and tantrums.
Just this morning, after endless reminders to my 17 month old to sit on his bottom instead of stand in the rocking chair, and to my 4 year old to share toys that aren’t her’s to begin with, I find the hope I woke up with that today was going to be a “good day” quickly diminish.
It’s only 9:53.
That means in the morning.
Whining has a remarkable way of turning any “gladness” to tolerance… and then to dread at having to serve thankless little people.
And that where I actually have the power to shift. To re-adjust my own attitude (when attempts to re-adjust their’s fails) by remembering WHO it is I’m vicariously serving through my children.
HE isn’t unappreciative.
HE isn’t thankless.
HE definitely doesn’t whine at the lunch I serve.
HE sees my feeble attempts to parent my best and promises His grace will cover where I fail and will grow what I’ve managed to do well.
By remembering Who I am really serving, and that He has radically served and loved thankless people, and that He appreciates my imperfect service, even though He doesn’t need it…
All of that helps me return to the gladness part of serving Him and the family He has blessed me with.
For that shift to gladness to happen sooner in my heart after the whining or tantrum… 😉
Good thing there is grace in the meantime.