Serving or Slaving: Love Makes the Difference

“Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity…seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil,… beareth all things,… endureth all things.”
1 Corinthians 13


“Mommeeee!! I neeeeeeed yoooouu!”

For the third time in five minutes, I had been summoned in this way. The first time was for an “accident” in the bathroom. “No problem. It’s okay, Honey. We’ll do better next time.” A minute later, two-year-old Annie needed help opening the door to the basement. “Here you go, Baby. Let me do that for you.” (Boy, I’ll be so glad when every-one around here can use the toilet and open doors for themselves!) Two minutes later, I answered the urgent summons to the kitchen to discover thousands of miniscule craft beads scattered all over the floor. “Well, haven’t we been busy? Here, I’ll help you clean them up.” (AAARRGGHH! How in the world am I supposed to be a “keeper at home” when I keep getting interrupted like this? I’m more like a zookeeper, if you ask me! When will I ever get a minute to myself? Will there ever be a day—or even five straight minutes—without someone needing my attention?)

“After a while, suffering long becomes tiresome and draining, seeking my own looks really tempting…”

And then I recalled that morning’s family devotions: 1 Corinthians 13, the passage we were memorizing. I didn’t want to think about it. I tried not to think about it. But the Holy Spirit’s voice pierced through my reluctance and revealed to me the ugliness of my heart. What I saw grieved me, for I knew it grieved my God.

“Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity…seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil,… beareth all things,… endureth all things.” I went through the passage in my mind, pronouncing myself guilty on each of these counts.

Have you ever tried to exhibit the characteristics of “I Corinthians 13 love” through sheer force of will? If you have, you know that it works for a while. When I am doing this, it is easy for me to get deceived into thinking that I’m fulfilling the Scripture. But after a while, suffering long becomes tiresome and draining, seeking my own looks really tempting, and being easily provoked leads to thinking evil. All my “loving” actions tumble down together like rotten fruit in a brisk wind. Why did I fail to love? Because I didn’t have the mind of Christ.

Seeking God for forgiveness and renewal, I asked Him to give me the mind of His Son, the Personification of love. I determined to view my children, with all their little quirks, weaknesses, and persistent needs, through the eyes of the One who said, “Suffer the little children to come unto Me”—the One who humbled Himself for our sakes and took on the form of a servant. Nothing is beneath a servant. No work is too dirty, no job too arduous or repetitive. With a changed perspective, I thanked God for giving me the unspeakable privilege of caring for five precious children—little ones to whom I can show His love.

A few minutes later…you guessed it! I was summoned again. But this time, I answered the call joyfully, eager to serve where I had once merely slaved.


This article was written by Julie Herbster and published in the Summer 2007 edition of The Beautiful Spirit magazine. Julie went Home to be with Jesus March 25, 2013.

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