The Beautiful Mess of Serving Others

serving others in love

How is your week going? Have you been busy? Stressed? A little overwhelmed? Me, too.

We had a visitor this week. The stomach bug came calling on a few family members. It visited my toddler in the night. I didn’t discover it until the early morning when the smell nearly knocked me down. Laundry is bad. Vomit laundry is worse. Slept on vomit laundry is pure evil. It made me a little evil, too. The stench of sick put me in a bad mood. I acted a little ugly and snapped at my husband when he tried to offer some unwanted advice.

serving others in love

Then, there’s the saga of the snooze alarm. I was up with my sick little one last night, trying to sleep in the recliner with him rolling and sweating all over me. When I crawled back in bed at 4 a.m., the husband’s alarm started going off. Every.9.minutes. With each successive beeeeep-beeeeep, my anger started growing. And I said so an hour later when I finally got out of bed in frustration. I wanted to pout. Instead, I made a cup of coffee for him and ironed his work clothes.

Two scenarios with similar emotions. My response to that emotion of anger and frustration was different. One involved self-indulgence, the other love. 

Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’. (Galatians 5:13-14)

The idea of loving others is easier to write down than it is to live. 

I think most every believer would nod their head in agreement, “yes, we should love as we are loved.” When it comes to actually doing it, we prefer to keep to ourselves and not expend any of our time or energy on others.

People close to me are having a hard week, too. There are serious marriage struggles, ICU vigils, surprising diagnoses, a surgery for a sweet little girl, a ministry with lacking resources, and a move to a new house. I have a lot of things to pray about.

Could this also be an opportunity to serve one another in love?

serving others in love

Loving others is messy work. It requires a sacrifice of time, resources, and a piece of our heart. Serving others in love is the work of every believer. We feel more connected than ever before (thank you, internet), but are probably less connected than any generation past (thank you, internet). To actually invite people to our porches and tables in order to do life with others is rare.

When we perceive a struggle in others, we have a choice. We can respond in self-indulgence and keep our distance. Or, we can respond with Gospel love and serve.

Our life in Christ is certainly something to celebrate. But if we celebrate alone during our morning Bible time, or offer a quick “praying” on social media prayer requests, we miss the point of our redemption. We are called to bring others into the abundant life we enjoy.

We MUST get involved in other peoples’ lives in order to do that.

It means picking up the phone and calling someone. It means sharing from our own vulnerability. It means meeting a hurting friend for coffee late at night. It means choosing the work of the Gospel instead of self-indulgence. It means holding a hand and praying right then and there.

I’ve had a hard week. I am sure you have, too. Can we pledge to serve one another out of the love we have been given? It will be messy and hard. But it will be beautiful!



  1. My husband is out of town on a trip I wish we could have afforded to have us both go. My daughter is not being a great home school child. I lost just one flip flop at the beach today…I am a bit cranky. Perfect timing. I will actually set up the lunch I promised with my former Bible Study gals…because “To actually invite people to our porches and tables in order to do life with others is rare…”

  2. I so appreciate your words this morning. My family has been invited to someone’s table – a good friend from high school – and I’m incredibly nervous. In fact, I even wondered how I could get out of it.

    You’ve reminded me that I want more than to connect with people via the internet. I want true connection. So, I will pray, and then I will go their table, so that we may share in this abundant life. Together.

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