From “have to” to “get to”

I still remember those mornings as a teenager.  Getting up in the mornings for things I “had to do”.  You know, got to school, do chores, etc.  These were the days I just “couldn’t get up and get motivated”.  Then there were the days we were going skiing.  Everyone would have to get up early (even earlier than school), get all the gear ready, eat a good breakfast, pack the lunch and load the car.  There was a lot of “chores” to do but it was all for something I would soon get to do, go skiing.  On those days I was usually the first one up and helping any way I could.  My dad often commented how awake and alert I was on those days (contrast to school days).  His point was obvious, if it was something I would “have to do” it was tough to get motivated, but if it was something I would “get to do”, there was no problem at all.

Although this is obvious in our teenagers (my 2nd is only months away), this is still true for us adults as well.  However our lack of “want to” motivation can sometime be shielded by our “need to” obligations.  I may get up fine for work because I need to provide for my family, but it’s still not the same attitude and motivation in the morning as if we’re heading to the airport to go to Disney World or something.  There’s no doubt about it.  When we perceive something as something we “have to” or “need to” do, there is a definite and visible disconnect between our actions and our attitude.  However, when we “get to” do something, our attitude and energy level can be infectious for everyone else around.

So today’s blog is about serving others with a “get to” attitude.  So many people who are not Christians, look at us Christians serve in our community and unfortunately, many times they see people doing something because they feel they are “supposed to” be doing it.  The lack of enthusiasm and energy can be seen a mile away.

People who believe in a higher power will serve for a variety of reasons, but only ONE of these reasons is really the right reason to serve.

  1. Seeking to earn favor – many people who believe in God in some form, believe they need to do certain things, (including serve others) as a way to balance out the bad things they do.  If they can just serve enough, be good enough, perhaps God just may let them into Heaven.
    PROBLEM – The One True God, the Christian God, doesn’t operate this way.  There is NOTHING we can do to earn His favor.  The slightest amount of sin in our lives (and we ALL have some) and we just flat out don’t qualify for life in Heaven.  No amount of good can overcome that.  ONLY accepting the death of His Son Jesus on the cross as payment for your sins can get you there.
  2. Win others to their faith – another common error is that if we just show others how great we are with our service, perhaps we can win them over into our faith.
    PROBLEM – While this can sometimes happen, the truth is we are called to spread the seed and to water the seed but only God can actually germinate and grow the seed.  Although it’s a great celebration when someone we know comes to Christ, it’s not actually our job to get them there.  It IS our job to sew the seed, and even to water the seed and then to pray that Christ opens their heart so that seed may germinate and grow.
  3. Show our love – if we set out to simply show people how much they mean to us, by serving them, then we’re finally doing what Christ called us to do.  Love them.  Christ has given us the most amazing gift ever, eternal salvation through grace.  It’s a gift, pure and simple.  Unearned, unreturnable, unexchangable.  It’s a gift simply because He loves us that much.  So since we can in no way pay him back for that gift, we are compelled out of love to pay it forward to others.

If you are serving out of one of the first two reasons, I beg you to spend some time in prayer to better understand what options 3 really means.  When you fully grasp the love Christ has shown you, your desire to show that love to others will blossom inside of you.  Then you will enter into service with the blessed attitude of “wow, look what I get to do”.  Your infectious attitude will win more people to Christ than any other act of service ever could.

You have been blessed with the ability to serve others, no matter your state in life.  God has given you some way to serve.  Grab onto that with everything you have and serve because you get to.



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