It’s VBS season! Woo and Hoo! (And no that was NOT sarcasm – I truly love VBS.)
I know VBS is supposed to serve the children but in my case, my children serve VBS. In the weeks leading up to VBS I volunteer them for any and all age appropriate tasks. Last week, they were labeling clip boards and cutting out bag tags. This week they are making name tags and packing crew bags. They might even do some rec supply inventory if I can keep them from beating each other with the pool noodles!
Guess what they get for doing all this. “Thank you.”
There’s no gold star or candy haven or ticket to the movies. They get a “thank you” from the staff and that is enough. I don’t pay them extra allowance for volunteering or give them a third dessert night that week. They get “thank you.”
Before you start to feel sorry for them or report me for breaking child labor laws, consider what it means to serve.
Therefore if there in any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interest, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being make in the likeness of men.
I feel like Paul is negotiating with the Philippians a little. “Cut me some slack guys! Work with me on this one. If you really get it – I mean REALLY get it – just work together! Stop thinking of yourself and what’s in it for you.” Then he kicks it in. “Look at Christ. He had it all – He WAS God – and He still took on our body and gave Himself up for us.”
Jesus didn’t get a gold star or a pat on the back or a slideshow of His accomplishments on a jumbotron. As a matter of fact, when was the last time you said a simple prayer of thanks for your salvation? When was the last time you considered the words of a worship song and honestly directed them Heavenward?
Serving God is not something we do because there is a reward in it for us. I firmly believe that serving God is something we do as part of the call to “Love your neighbor as yourself.” It comes from our desire that all should know the love of Christ. It is born out of worship and gratitude for that humiliation on the cross that covered all of my selfishness. That’s a thought isn’t it? He gave all and died because I am a slave to hoarding and self-preservation.
A friend often tells me I don’t handle compliments well and she’s probably right. I truly prefer to work under the radar. If what I do, directs others to the One on the hill and what He did, that’s all the gold star I need.