Are you being a good steward of the talents God has entrusted you with? Are you using those talents to serve others while you work on getting better and better at what you do?
If so, you may at some point come up against the enemy of pride. We can get good enough at what we do that we start thinking we’re our own author and finisher! We begin comparing ourselves to others and what they’re able to do, start thinking we’re light years ahead of them, and our pride puffs us up because we’re full of ourselves. We think we’re the cat’s meow, and see ourselves as super awesome!
That’s a dangerous place to be. As Peter writes, “And all of you, serve each other in humility, for ‘God opposes the proud but favors the humble.'” (1 Peter 5:5 NLT) I’m not sure any of us would consciously choose to be opposed by God! But even if we’re using our talents to serve others, we can get to the point where we forget who gave us our gifts in the first place and who gives us the will and ability to grow in them.
What then shall we do??
I am proposing an antidote to awesomeness: serve in a menial capacity that you are completely unfamiliar with.
This is one of my primary tools used when volunteering at the horse farm. Yep, you guessed it! I have the prestigious task of cleaning up horse manure.
I’m not sharing this with you for a pat on the back. I want to share the principle of serving, and how it can help keep you humble. Just about everything I know about horses I’ve learned at this farm since I started helping out in May. There are no real skills necessary, just the ability to use the muckrake and push a wheelbarrow (and make sure the horses don’t get out!). I get a free workout, and the horses get clean stalls and paddocks. I have no goals of climbing any ladders of success, but am willing to do whatever is asked of me.
There is no glory to be found here! I enjoy being around the horses and interacting with them, but this role is not exactly resume material. Just good, old-fashioned, wholesome hard work. Somebody’s got to do it, and it might as well be me!
There are many organizations around you that do good in your community. It’s easy to think that just sending them some money is the best way to help, but many of them would like to use your hands as well. This horse farm provides therapeutic riding lessons to veterans and individuals with disabilities. That’s way out of my league. But…I can handle a muckrake!
Jesus provided an example of this. John tells us, “He got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him.” (John 13:4-5)
I know that Jesus exhibited more abilities during his time on earth than simply washing people’s feet! But He gave us this example of humble service and then instructed his disciples, “And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. I tell you the truth, slaves are not greater than their master. Nor is the messenger more important than the one who sends the message.” (John 13:14-16)
We are not greater nor more important than our Lord and Savior. We are to use whatever we have to help others, whether it’s an amazing ability He’s given us, or the willingness to put old fashioned elbow grease to work.
Paul wrote to the church in Galatia, “For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.” (Galatians 5:13)
A servant attitude and willing heart should belong to all of us. Look around your neighborhood. What are some needs that you could meet in ways that don’t match your talent list? What are some volunteer organizations in your community that could use your help? If your reaction includes any feelings of being “above” helping out, I’d say you’ve got a bit of pride trying to sneak in. The best fix for pride is humility, and it’s better to teach it to yourself now than to have God do it for you later! Squash that thing, and get out there!
I dare you to step out of your comfort zone, and serve others with the love of Christ!