Skip to main content

Serving, but with boundaries

“But maybe you don’t want to serve the Lord. You must choose for yourselves today. Today you must decide who you will serve. Will you serve the gods that your ancestors worshiped when they lived on the other side of the Euphrates River? Or will you serve the gods of the Amorites who lived in this land? You must choose for yourselves. But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15 ERV)
We all serve something. It may be we serve ourselves - paying close attention to our needs and wants, while shutting out the needs and wants of those around us. We might serve others - doing all they demand and even more, but ignoring all the needs of our own body, mind, or soul. We could even serve something - not a person, but rather an object that has become the central focus of our existence, such as alcohol, drugs, or addictive substance. It really isn't as much a matter of "serving" as it is making a choice as to who or what we will allow in that space reserved for God himself.
I wanted sleep last night, my body craving it almost, but it wasn't in the cards for me as mom had one of those totally restless nights. It made me think this morning about the many needs each of us has, some very well articulated, while others have to be ferreted out by some means of intuition or interpretation. Mom couldn't put her finger on why she was so "antsy" and a little disconcerted herself - something common as dementia advances. She knew she didn't want to be alone, didn't want to be in bed, and that maybe she wanted a little fresh air. At two in the morning, we don't usually sit on the patio - so that was a little unrealistic, but we could open the front door and let in some of the cool air of an Arizona fall nighttime.
How do we decide what or who to serve? If we are uncomfortable taking a stand "against" those who may make demands upon us, we might just find ourselves "serving" but very begrudgingly. At two this morning, I had to put my foot down and let mom know we were not going outside. It was fine to sit together, or even pace the floors together, but we weren't going to venture beyond the house. Boundaries had to be set. In serving, it is important to set boundaries. You might think this a little counter to what it means to serve, but hear me out. If we allow others to constantly determine our boundaries, we may just find we are moving beyond what God wants for us, and sometimes even at the expense of either our own health or spiritual well-being. This is the importance of determining those boundaries even before we choose to serve.
As the Israelites were about to make the choice to either serve this or that god of the land, they also had the choice to serve the God of the Universe. The choices were clearly outlined and God had even helped define some of the boundaries, but the choice remained theirs. In serving, remember there is always a choice, and that choice is exclusively ours. We may "give over" that choice to another, but even in doing this, we are making a choice! Service is best accomplished in choosing wisely and understanding the boundaries behind those choices. Don't be intimidated into service. Don't let others set the boundaries for you. Be aware of what God desires of you, then remain faithful to those boundaries. You will be the most content serving when you do it within these boundaries. Just sayin!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

What did obedience cost Mary and Joseph?

As we have looked at the birth of Christ, we have considered the fact he was born of a virgin, with an earthly father so willing to honor God with his life that he married a woman who was already pregnant.  In that day and time, a very taboo thing.  We also saw how the mother of Christ was chosen by God and given the dramatic news that she would carry the Son of God.  Imagine her awe, but also see her tremendous amount of fear as she would have received this announcement, knowing all she knew about the time in which she lived about how a woman out of wedlock showing up pregnant would be treated.  We also explored the lowly birth of Jesus in a stable of sorts, surrounded by animals, visited by shepherds, and then honored by magi from afar.  The announcement of his birth was by angels - start to finish.  Mary heard from an angel (a messenger from God), while Joseph was set at ease by a messenger from God on another occasion - assuring him the thing he was about to do in marrying Mary wa

The bobby pin in the electrical socket does what???

Avoidance is the act of staying away from something - usually because it brings some kind of negative effect into your life.  For example, if you are a diabetic, you avoid the intake of high quantities of simple sugars because they bring the negative effect of elevating your blood glucose to unhealthy levels.  If you were like me as a kid, listening to mom and dad tell you the electrical outlets were actually dangerous didn't matter all that much until you put the bobby pin into the tiny slots and felt that jolt of electric current course through your body! At that point, you recognized electricity as having a "dangerous" side to it - it produces negative effects when embraced in a wrong manner.  Both of these are good things, when used correctly.  Sugar has a benefit of producing energy within our cells, but an over-abundance of it will have a bad effect.  Electricity lights our path and keeps us warm on cold nights, but not contained as it should be and it can produce

Gateway closed, ears open, heart ready

We can certainly hear a lot of voices today - each representing some "cause" or "purpose" we are supposed to get our lives behind. Some are reasonable and seem to catch our attention simply because what they present seems both logical and straight-forward. Other voices are not as forth-coming in their motives, oftentimes not very logical and definitely not telling you the whole story. They simply use a technique that manipulates the crowds until they have them to the place we might call "biting on the bait". Our mailboxes are inundated with this request for "charitable contribution" one right after another; get this product now; attend this seminar to get rich quick; and get these veneers put on your teeth to change the way people perceive you. Lots of voices demanding our attention, but do we recognize its source? Jesus was most concerned with the repetitive 'voices' and 'demands' our world puts out there over and over again - vo