Genuine hearts on Service

Has anyone else ever felt like you are trying to serve more than you care about what kind of care you are able to provide? Walk with me on this for a second.

We are all so freaking busy anymore. Sometimes I feel like when I serve, I overcommit myself because I see it as all or nothing, and as a result, I don’t value it all that much. I still see it as holy, but if I was able to bring a fresh heart to my actions, I’m sure it would be much better quality time for both myself and the people I spend it with. I know that it isn’t about me, but it’s almost as if being busy distracts me from preparing my heart for God’s good grace and the communion I love with others.

When we choose how to serve, there is this idea that how much we serve matters infinitely more than how we serve. I just don’t think that can be true. I have seen people serve with their whole hearts and souls but only do it infrequently, and I have seen people serve consistently but bring to it a hardened heart and lack of focus for what it means to them. Maybe that’s what leads to burnout? What if it were as simple as forgetting to look up? I’m serious.

My mom has this wonderful habit of using words like “opportunity” and thanking people for things. I never noticed it when I was younger, but she has always gone out of her way to do things like buying people donuts or baking brownies or ordering pizza to thank the students that work for her or the people in the maintence department who help her with the greenhouses. I never realized how much her habit of thanking others had rubbed off on me until I started writing resumes and had to begin using language that generally gets listed under “words of flattery”. Now, my mom has to be careful to not get taken advantage of, but she still continues to give back. How she cares for others inspires me, and it is one of the ways that doesn’t make me afraid to grow older because I will grow into that trait if I’m lucky and how great would that be? I admire how she genuinely cares about people.

That being said, she doesn’t always have a ton of time. Like when she was our Girl Scout Troop Leader, we learned to leave places better than you found them, which is an excellent principle to live by. When any of us serves but does it solely from habit, we can’t keep such an annointed mindset with how we treat people. We let true giving fall by the wayside, and feel more drained than when we started.

You can serve with a genuine heart and not do it constantly. I get the feeling that God cares more about how honest and genuine we are in our giving than how frequently or how much we have to give. He knows our limitations. He just wants us to choose him first and live as if a few hours volunteering are part of a continuous attitude and lifestyle of worship. He doesn’t need us to proove anything.


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I am a second-grade teacher and pastor-to-be who loves people. I spend my weekends with friends or wandering the museums of DC alone and with a journal, trying to put words on the places of the soul that still feel wordless. I spent most of my days at school trying to learn patience through my students and running on sheer nerdy passion. I follow Jesus Christ, and savor that as my most important identity--that I am a child of God, as are infinite others, regardless of their other identities. Christ is my one thing.

3 thoughts on “Genuine hearts on Service”

  1. Good post. It begs the question: what is service? Jesus said “If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there shall My servant be also; if any one serves Me, the Father will honor him.” So serving is just hanging out with Jesus and doing what he wants which is freeing I think, like hanging with your best friend.

    BTW Thanks for liking my blog


    1. What an insightful comment! I think you may be right, and there are a variety of different avenues of service. What makes service feel restrictive is when we do it out of corrupted interests or we can’t recognize that what God asks of us is to our own benefit. It is still difficult to me to consider that serving God can be so casual when people often make it into a false contest, but I think that is the healthier stance to take over all. Thank you for putting it into words!


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