Excuse Me!

…whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
–Matthew 20:26-28

When an opportunity for service presents itself, so often our first tendency is to weasel out of it. Normal? Yes! I know this one well… I am King Weasel. To combat this tendency we must proactively eliminate our excuses.

There’s an old axiom that says, “You always find time to do the things you want to do.” Need proof?

A while back, I was talking to a high school student at my church. He had just received an iPod for Christmas and he was boasting of the 13,000 songs he had loaded on it. I asked him how long it took to download all those songs onto his iPod. After he gulped a few times and scratched an imaginary rash, he said about 200 hours.

Something stirred in me. My response wasn’t characteristic of my normal, gentle, pastorally self. “200 hours!” I exclaimed. “You’ve got to be kidding! Too bad you didn’t spend some of those same 200 hours serving others. God would have taken those serving experiences and not only blessed you on earth with a sense of significance but also rewarded you in eternity.”

This teenager looked at me with big tears in his eyes. “Thank you for being so wise, Pastor and Jedi Master Doug,” he said. “You’re completely right–as you always are.”

Actually, what he really said was, “Dude, you sound like my dad,” and walked away. But I hope he got the point.

I hope you do too. Many times we make excuses that have become manufactured by misplaced priorities and poor decision-making. It’s amazing what happens to our time when we make something a priority.

Meaningful, effective service is seldom easy. Yet, serving is the primary method God uses to form the character of Jesus in us. When we serve, our lives are being morphed into the likeness of our Lord. We are never more like Jesus than when we serve.

Today, let’s say no to our inner weasels. No more excuses. Start small. See a need and meet it. That’s the simplest equation for serving and success. Service, with the right motive, is never small to God!

1. What’s your favorite excuse for avoiding acts of service? How can you move beyond using this excuse in the future?

2. What is one small act of service you can do today to help someone else? Will you do it?

John 13:2-17; 1 Peter 4:10; Ephesians 6:7

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Doug Fields

Doug Fields is the senior director of HomeWord. He speaks to thousands of leaders, teenagers and parents each year. He’s also the author/co-author of 50+ books including: Parenting in a Screen Saturated Culture; Intentional Parenting; 7 Ways to be Her Hero – the One Your Wife Has Been Waiting For; and To Have and To Hold. In addition to Doug’s speaking and writing, he is also the co-founder of DownloadYouthMinistry.com and the youth pastor at Mariners Church. Doug has been married for more than 35 years to his wonderful wife Cathy, and they live near their 3 married children and 3 grandchildren in Southern California.

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