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To get or to serve?

God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing. (C.S. Lewis) 

He is the one who has helped us tell others about his new agreement to save them. We do not tell them that they must obey every law of God or die; but we tell them there is life for them from the Holy Spirit. The old way, trying to be saved by keeping the Ten Commandments, ends in death; in the new way, the Holy Spirit gives them life. (2 Corinthians 3:6 TLB)

As a child, mom or dad would instruct me to do something, perhaps a chore to be completed prior to going out to play. Whenever I was given this task, although the task was "reasonable", the effort it took to get it done so I could pursue what "I wanted" always seemed so huge. I wanted to ride bikes with the other neighborhood kids. I wanted to get out the Monopoly game and launch into an all day marathon to see who would amass millions. The things I "wanted" mattered to mom and dad, but helping me to see I had contributions to make to the family and that these contributions mattered just as much as doing what I "wanted" was a very important lesson for me to learn as a child. They were instilling a hard work ethic, helping me to see other needs outside of my own, and realizing there were things I would do all my life that would help to make a home for those I call family. In essence, by asking for my obedience ahead of my enjoyment, they were showing me that enjoyment begins as a result of obedience!

In religious circles, many a church-goer finds him or herself smack dab in the middle of this endless cycle of keeping rules for the sake of earning some "privilege" or "status". My chores were never to "earn me a place in the family", but rather to help me realize as a family we all contribute something of value that makes the family more robust as a result. Church-goers who merely "do" in order to earn are less likely to enjoy the privileges of "family life" because where is the enjoyment in doing? The keeping of rules doesn't make us a Christian - the enjoyment of being a member of God's family through grace does! The moment we realize "service" is an outflow of what has been done for us and not to help us do for ourselves, the more we will find enjoyment in serving. 

So many times we find ourselves coming back to the "keeping of rules" - forgetting that service stems from being loved, accepted, embraced into the family of God. We serve because of who we belong to, not in order to belong. Just sayin!

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