Thinking critically this morning about whether I care more about loving my friends than actually acting on that care.
Have you ever noticed the false dichotomy of actions vs. genuine care in service? Why do we care more about looking like we are busy than coming with genuine hearts?? I feel like a lot of volunteering and care for others happens out of obligation (-) or because we are looking for “feel good” experiences that diminish from the true lives of those we’re serving (+). This dishonest and out of balance and confounded view of care and the role of actions makes simply caring for others seem like not enough, and it distracts from the simplicity of what the Holy Spirit asks. Any one know what I’m talking about?
When you care more about helping a perceived cause than you are able to realistically invest by your quality time, you stumble into a dangerous territory of caring more about warm and fuzzy feelings than any cause and dragging that bias into service. I know that God’s body needs hands and feet, but true stewardship requires love and care under self control. It is as if we are serving just to look busy, because I have done that various times in my lifex I’m not trying to fabricate a problem I haven’t witnessed. I just want to talk about it.
On a basic level, we are all human. Serving for the art of selling inspirational stories and making our lives seem so much more cheery than they are instead of listening is lying. That dishonesty may not seem like much, because we still serve, but if we only do it as a jewel for our crowns, do the people we serve actually want us there? If our time is a tax, who would?
Don’t get me wrong; the warm and fuzzies are great. But it is more precious to pursue an honest reality that runs after the truth even when it drags us into what is gritty. We shouldn’t feel the need to censor or gloss over the unfinished parts of our lives to fit into the cult of the Christian soundbyte. Inspiration seeking people already have their reward; like Pharisees that go to and fro with sullen faces during fasting (Matthew 6:2-5). It’s like putting lipstick on a pig to rewrite our stories instead of inviting God to begin working there, in what remains unhealed. His love glorifies, and our attempts at beautifying the unbeautiful make us look silly because they don’t amount to much.
I believe this is one of the times where our intentions fall short of fairness. We hope to do a good thing, but we think its more important to move or act before we even establish a genuine desire. We think that our service without a faith basis is equal to works from faith. And even with faith, we all need God to come alongside us and progressively purify our interests. I just believe that of we as the body of Christ want to be known as a legitimately giving people, we need to examine the dangerous territory of serving for the emotional high it can give us.