Monday, August 30, 2010

Homily 12: On Service and Love (as preached by an orthodox rebel)

"Serve the Lord with gladness...for the Lord is good...." Ps. 100:2, 5

The only true and proper service is one done out of love for the object of service. Service itself is good, but only as a means, not an end. Once it is done for itself (i.e., service "in the raw"), it falls apart. It will quickly wear thin and consequently wear out the one who is serving. If they find some strength of ego or conviction to keep going, then they will become hard and cold in their service. Thus, service reveals itself to be a wonderful tool but a terrible god. It can steal all the joy out of life and love.

It is the same thing in regard to God. We do not serve Him for service's sake; we serve Him because (1) He is Lord and (2) He is good. God's quality and character are to be our focus; consequently, service cannot be the center: God is. He is to always be the center, and the instant that something else takes His place (e.g., service), life becomes a disaster. We are serving God for the wrong reasons, and thus are serving the wrong god. Serve the Lord, not for the sake of mere service, but because He is good, because His mercy is everlasting, because His truth endures forever (vs. 5). When you are caught up in love for God (for who He is and what He has done), service becomes a means to express love, and in that context it becomes as easy as breathing.

It should be obvious by now that service is for our benefit, not God's. He needs nothing; He wouldn't be God if He did. Like worship, service is about awakening to reality, i.e., really seeing who God is and who we are in return. The result of such a heavenly vision is loving God more (and therefore serving Him more).  Thus, service is a natural result of desiring closer communion with Him. Anything that sets our focus and affections on God, causing us to draw closer to Him, is good for our souls, because we are poor and needy while He is all-sufficient.

-Jon Vowell (c) 2010

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