Sacrifice Or Reasonable Service?

There’s been much mulling in my mind of how I will handle the very busy holiday season that’s almost upon us. I’m talking about church events and responsibilities/ committees we’re on etc. These things are out of my control.  How can I be serving cheerfully without becoming stressed when it feels like life really is too busy? How can I enjoy the moments instead of focusing so much on what needs done that I miss out on the special events, even when I’m present?

Every Friday night or weekend for the next 5 weeks, we have things going on that were distinctly involved in and/or responsible for.  Each event is clearly mapped out in my mental and physical calender. A trip, a variety of church/school functions, and a local wedding which means hosting and more. Besides this, I also happen to be on to clean church, be Sunday host and teach the ladies Sunday School class one Sunday in the next month to 6 weeks.  Facing it with dread because I’m unsure how I’ll handle everything, isn’t the best route, but it’s the most natural for me. (Praying about it comes naturally too, just sayin’.)  Any more prayers for survival are welcome. Jerald reminds me these are all opportunities to serve Jesus and I heartily agree.  A willing spirit, ready to serve is super important in church life. If we don’t possess that spirit, it tells things about our heart. I think my heart is willing, but the Bible also says the heart is deceitful. (Jeremiah 17:9) I should probably do a heart check. (Psalms 139:23 & 24)

I do love to serve Jesus but I wish these shindings and responsibilities weren’t arranged in one big splat. I wish it was more spread out and it wasn’t at such a busy season. What am I indicating by this wish?  Do I like to serve Jesus at my convenience?? That doesn’t sound like the Bible I read where it speaks about sacrifice and self denial. Sometimes we’d like to congratulate ourselves for the multitude of sacrifices were making in all our serving. But that goes kersplat when you read Romans 12:1 where it speaks of presenting our bodies as a living sacrifice which is your reasonable service. We’re only doing what we’re called to do. We can never sacrifice enough to repay the sacrifice Christ made for us. Debtors indeed! Am I living like I’m grateful for His sacrifice?!

Its true. The Christian life isn’t about serving at our convenience. Yet at the same time,  how do we balance church related functions which, indeed make us busy, combined with our own family/personal needs? I become irritated that life has to be so busy.  I’ve felt it before this time of year. It annoys me that the beautiful Thanksgiving/Christmas season is dotted with so many activities that I’m nearly left panting. What’s a person to do? You can’t cut out church events like the Thanksgiving or Christmas supper, the youth functions, the school Christmas program, the caroling. You can cut out things like shopping for gifts, but that’s not a project on my agenda.

How do we keep from becoming overworked and underslept? Some of us women are more apt to feel overwhelm than others. Are you feeling like me? There’s times I wish I could just run away and hide until its over. Kinda like Elijah who was depressed with life and asked God to let him die and the Lord said “no, I still have work for you to do.” (1 Kings 19)

I wonder, Is God testing me to see how I respond? I’ve been praying that He would heal me and He has been. There’s no way I could have handled everything I have going now, a year ago. Is He putting me to the test now, to see if I’m willing to serve Him even if it makes me extra busy? The quote ”busy is blessed” is so true.  I’m blessed to be involved in a good church!  I’m blessed to have health to serve!  What if I suddenly broke my leg and would be laid up for the next 6 weeks? Beyond a doubt I would repent in dust and ashes immediately or sooner.  How much rather I’d be up busy and serving, than to be laid up needing to be served!

So how do we find balance? Here’s a few points I came up with but it’s not a conclusive list. I’d be happy to hear yours!

☆ Be diligent in Bible reading. We have many responsibilities, but it’s also our personal responsibility to maintain daily efforts to stay engaged in our walk with God. If I’m losing my connection with God because these other activities (which are good and right!) are so involving and stressful, then I have erred.

☆ Spend time in prayer. If I’m only praying on the run instead of on my knees, I’m missing out. Praying on the run is fine and I do it all the time but I still need that solo time in dedicated prayer.

☆ Ask God each morning for wisdom to know exactly what’s necessary to do and what I can cut out. This can be very hard to discern.

☆ Ask God to fill my heart with peace instead of the ruffled feelings of stress.

☆ Ask God to help me be grateful and serve with joy. Maybe there’s more of my attitude that hinges on ungratefulness than I realize.

☆Be intentional with limiting my own projects at home, so that I’m able to give where God has asked me.

Examples. Maybe I can’t clean that space that’s bugging me. Or sew that dress for the Christmas supper. Maybe I’ll have to give up baking sourdough bread right now.  I can’t plan my own days so full and expect to still serve elsewhere with a heart of love. If I’m low on sleep and high on stress, its nearly certain I’ll inadvertently pull on the coat of martyerdom. I’ll feel picked on and be huffing and puffing about why I have to work so hard and why we have to be helping with this and on and on I’ll stumble down Complaining street. (Psalms 144:14) And I completely miss the opportunity for joy in serving. 

☆ Before the events, ask God to help me be fully engaged in, and enjoy the moments of serving. Not just plowing through with a survival attitude.

Here’s a poem about Elijah that I wrote many years ago. Can you relate?

Under The Juniper Tree

How often are we like Elijah of old? We’re tired of life and the duties we hold

So we find ourselves a “Juniper tree”- From cares of this life we ask to be free.

The Lord may answer and grant our request, But He wants us to grow by passing the test

The Lord may speak with something quite great, Or sometimes He’ll answer, “for now you just wait.

In a still small voice He often will speak, To find that Voice we must diligently seek,

So listen real close what He has for you,  Arise and work with strength anew!

♥️ Wishing you Christ’s Peace and Joy in serving this Holiday Season. It is only our reasonable service.

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