Doing the dishes, going shopping for an elderly church member, or tidying up a Sunday-school room. All this is serving. Serving is usually done in the hidden. Often, it is the “dirty jobs” or jobs done behind the scenes.
On the surface, serving is as easy as picking up a broom and sweeping up after a meal–and yet, I so often see that many teens shrink back from taking the initiative when it is needed. Why? Yes, you could say we teens are lazy (and in some cases you are probably right), but often, at the core of it, they are believing lies from the enemy.
The best ways to fight lies is to know them and to then come back at them with truth. Below, we will be discussing three common lies.
Lie #1: I’m too young.
I hear this excuse a lot, but really, it is more than an excuse. It is a lie. So many teens have been told they are too young to serve. So many teens (and children!) have been told to “get out of the way” because they are more of a hindrance than a help.
Only last week I was told by someone that I am too young to teach in children’s ministry. Having been told things such as this often, many sadly believe it. This is a lie and we must fight it with truth.
Truth #1: You are never too young to serve.
I will never forget the time someone at church asked me to do something, and my reply was, “But I’m only twelve!” It shocked me that someone trusted me enough to give me, a twelve-year-old, this responsibility–no matter how small it was.
His response will forever be engraved in my mind: “Sarah, with God the exact age doesn’t matter. What matters is the heart.” You are never too young to serve.
Lie #2: I’m not good at it.
“Hey, want to come help me here?” I asked. “I have to carry these table decorations upstairs and get the tables ready for the Christmas singing.”
He hesitated. “I’m not sure I’m the right person.”
This scenario is sadly too common. “I’m not good at it” is an excuse (= lie!) that I have often come across. In our age of perfectionism, it is easy to believe this lie. It is easy to think that we truly are not skilled enough to serve. And while this may be true for a specific task (for some this might be cooking, or some other talent that does require specific skillsets), it is definitely not true as a broad statement.
Truth #2: Serving just needs a willingness.
We know from the Bible that each of us has been given specific gifts with which we are to serve others, especially believers, with. However, many tasks do not require a special gifting.
I remember when someone once told me that he was glad I had been given the spiritual gift of drying dishes. I had to smile.
Truth is, I have no special talent for that. But, I have something else: Willingness. And truly, that is all that serving needs. A willing heart and attitude says, “I’m open to do any task that might come my way.”
Be open to learn. Be quick to pitch in. Be willing.
Lie #3: I don’t feel like it (and therefore I don’t need to do it).
Here is where laziness comes into the game. Let’s face it: We all have days in which we don’t want to do anything. Days in which we would much rather curl up in a corner, than get up and help. Days in which we just don’t feel like serving.
That’s okay. We don’t always have to feel like serving. But, that is by far not a good enough excuse to not serve.
Truth #3: Serving is not dependent on what we feel like.
For this truth we have to go back to what serving even is. We have to go back to the reason we serve. We have to go back to the one who first served. “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve” (Mark 10:45a).
It really doesn’t matter if we don’t feel like taking the initiative–it doesn’t matter if we don’t feel like serving–we must do it anyway. Jesus himself said that if we love only when and whom we feel like loving, we are not any better than the “sinners” (Luke 6:32) or the “tax-collectors” (Matthew 5:46).
Love is a choice, not a feeling, and serving is a form of love, a way of showing the people around us love. And if we are to love despite of our feelings, then we are to serve despite them as well.
A call to all teens
Let us be a generation that doesn’t believe the lies of the enemy. A generation who rises to the need and loves others with the love Christ gives us. A generation that serves.
For in serving, we are mirroring the one who alone deserved to be served–but served anyway. Dear teens, let’s follow in his footsteps. Let us serve.