As I was preparing for a new year of Care Effect, I came across this prayer about serving. It helped me refocus on the heart of our service, and I hope it encourages you. It begins by making sure that we focus on service as an act of devotion to God. When we do that, we are freed from seeing the praise, or lack of praise, of others as the goal of our service. The prayer ends with these words:
I would serve in imitation of you, who poured out your life for me. I would serve knowing that your Spirit is ever at work in the lives of those I serve, ever calling, ever drawing, ever seeking to soften hearts encased in fear and disappointment and anger and idolatry. So, let my kindnesses and sacrifice fall like warm shafts of sunlight on icy ground. I cannot know the end of another person’s story. Our lives so often only briefly intersect.
So, let me be content to minister regardless of visible outcomes, trusting that the small mercies I extend will be woven into the larger theme of redemption at work in the lives of others as you woo them to yourself, drawing their hearts by graces offered, and shaping my own heart too in this process of learning to serve well, and by learning to serve well, learning to love well.