Serving Others: Why Do You Do It?

Nicole Headshot in blue shirt

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

Why do you do it? What motivates you?

Suffering is everywhere in our world. We can barely turn on our television or devices or read a newspaper, book or magazine article without being jarred by learning about someone else or another community suffering. It is worldwide and our solutions at times seem to only touch the surface. And in part, that is true.

If a key motivating factor is missing from our desire to serve, alleviate suffering and render justice, our approach and solutions will fall short.

You may be socially aware (having a sense of concern or responsibility for the problems and injustices of society), which is great. You may be even more socially aware and more “woke” than others. That’s great too. And yet, that is not enough. It falls short of God’s intentions for truly rendering aid to the needs of people beyond their physical needs and alleviating their physical, mental or emotional suffering.

In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus gives us our direction and instructions to truly make those suffering whole:

19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

If we are not first motivated by a love for God, and then a love for neighbor, our efforts will be surface.

As we as individuals, through our businesses, groups, organizations or ministries serve in various facets determined to make great change, we would do well to invite the key player to lead our plans: God, and a love for God. This intentional action and focus allows us to be part of the redemptive transformation for people God intends —beyond simply meeting their temporal needs.

serving man soup photo credit Green Mangos Catering

Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

An excerpt from the book, A Missional Life (2013), written by 14 authors and published by the Christian Medical and Dental Associations, challenges us to further discern our motivations for serving others:

“Are you motivated by a general need to do something or do you desire to see the knowledge of God’s glory cover the earth, “as the waters cover the sea.” (Habakkuk 2:14)?

How you answer that question will largely determine whether you are focused on being a disciple of Christ acting on his behalf for the good of others, or if you are merely acting and rebelling; whether you are truly missional or merely have a social conscience; whether you are living for Christ or for yourself.”

Introspection

While it is good to think about and feel compassion for the suffering happening in our world, have you done so with an eye toward Christ Jesus? With an eye to see, ears to hear and a heart attuned to catch God’s biblical vision of how He desires for you to respond as His ambassador? As His hands and feet? Are you serving for yourself or serving Him? Why do you do it? What motivates you? Are you connected to God’s eternal plan or simply your strategic plan? Are we giving them bread for their body and for their soul — food that will sustain them beyond today?

We are imperfect beings and often self-centered (sometimes unintentionally) so we need a better motivation to do what is good; a more perfect motivation to truly do work with results that will last.

Heavenly Father, help us to have the mind of Your Son Jesus Christ in all that we do, even as we seek to alleviate suffering in our world. May we serve as the hands and feet of Christ as we address the physical, emotional, mental and temporal needs of those you place in our path as well as their eternal and redemptive needs. May we offer Your bread that will truly sustain them.

In Jesus’ Name we pray and ask this,

Amen

Nicole

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Christmas Interrupted Brings Unexpected Blessings

Ana Martinez, Chef and Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Ana Martinez, Chef and Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

One of my favorite childhood Christmas memories was spent in the hospital. My father is a pastor and on that particular Christmas Day, he received a phone call asking if he would visit a terminally ill patient. Sure enough, my parents packed us girls in the car and we were on our way. My older sister and I spent much of the day in the hospital cafeteria waiting for our parents. Surprisingly, we did not have a bad attitude in waiting. We knew our parents were called to ministry and understood the importance of them doing the Lord’s work. When we left, it was far too late for us to drive home and ask my mother to make Christmas dinner since the hospital was well over an hour away from our house. My father, like any good man, decided to hunt for food for his family. We eagerly drove around the snowy Detroit streets looking for open restaurants.

As you might have guessed, everything was closed except for a Chinese restaurant. That is where we would enjoy our Christmas dinner. As the only family in the restaurant, all we could do was laugh as we slurped our hot won ton soup. God is good. It wasn’t how we planned our day but somehow we felt more together that Christmas than any other. Sometimes breaking tradition to be a blessing to someone else becomes a hidden blessing for you.

Merry Christmas dear brothers and sisters. May this Christmas be filled with new traditions of serving Him. After all, it’s His birthday, so let’s do His will.Star of Bethlehem

Luke 2:1-14 (KJV) 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace good will toward men.

-Ana

About Ana Martinez

Ana Martinez was born in Michigan. When she was age 4, her parents Pastor Juan and Deborah Martinez founded the Potter’s House Christian Fellowship in Almont, Mich.  Ana grew up in the church and in a humble, loving Christian home.  Her parent’s faithfulness and commitment to ministry for over 27 years has been a testimony to her.  In her youth she was like the prodigal son.  She knows what it means to walk away from your call and to stray from the Word of God.  Her life experiences have taught her that God’s way and His principles are worth upholding.  She is a God-fearing Christian woman determined to do the will of The Lord.  Her heart’s desire is to reach the lost and win souls for the kingdom of heaven by sharing the Good News, according to Matthew 28:19. Ana truly believes people are hurting and need to know that there is forgiveness through Jesus Christ.  Matthew 11:28, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give ye rest.”