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In Service

August 15, 2022

“Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.”

Matthew 6.8

I was listening to Christian AM radio the other day, when one of the shows interviewed a man who quoted the above verse. It was said in such a way that it was like I had heard it for the first time. It reminded me of one of my favourite lines from one of my favourite movies, Gosford Park:

“What gift do you think a good servant has that separates them from the others? It’s the gift of anticipation. And I’m a good servant. I’m better than good. I’m the best. I’m the perfect servant. I know when they’ll be hungry and the food is ready. I know when they’ll be tired and the bed is turned down. I know it before they know it themselves.”

Mrs. Wilson

While the Christian knows Jesus to be the good servant, I think we often don’t reflect on God as being at our service. And while we are to be gracious to others as God is gracious to us, I for one didn’t come to a natural conclusion that my purpose is to serve, as Christ served.

Even though I looked to Jesus on the cross as strength when I would have to do things that pained me, I oftentimes misinterpreted my codependent behaviours to mean pure Christian love. This kept me stuck in a cycle of spiritual poverty, as I rationalized away any drive to stick up for myself. I even validated my inability to fully integrate into my communities by recalling the oftentimes misquoted verses on persecution. I allowed my needs to be denied because I misunderstood what living in faith actually meant, and I had no idea what godly love really was.

Today I understand that in order for me to truly live as Christ lived, to truly care about others and not want the condemnation of my neighbour, requires me to release all judgement about myself and about others. To be of service is to be fully open-minded and to truly care about the insides of a person: to inquire about the health of their being in a supernatural way. Not a way of self-righteousness, ridicule, or gossip, but of sincere and genuine desire to see that person free of any sort of affliction.

We generally don’t like the word “service”. It reminds us of things that are somber, servile, and even scraping. The ego likes to play a trick on the soul, and leads it to believe that considering other people’s feelings is a betrayal of the self. But the truth is we are the most free, the most liberated, and the most at peace with ourselves and with others when we are motivated to help out in any way we can.

The things that separate us and that justify judgements are the antithesis of all that can make us feel happy, useful, and whole. The remedy to all spiritual malady, to all feelings that we don’t match up in this world, is how to think less of ourselves, and more of others. This is a great definition of humility, and a perfect way to shoo away feelings of displacement. I am convinced that to be of service is the most perfect way to live, and that it’s the best way to emulate my higher power.

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