Serving others in a meaningful, sacrificial way can be difficult. We go to a homeless shelter, a elder care facility or a drop in center for youth with the expectation that we are “going to make a difference.” We’ve made the decision to serve, we step into the calling and now we’re actively engaged with those in need.
Some people ask me, “So, it must be rewarding to work with the homeless?” My answer, delayed and thoughtful, “Well, sometimes it is. And sometimes it’s frustrating, sometimes it’s heartbreaking and sometimes it’s funny.” It’s true, that one may experience the full range of emotions when engaged in serving others. We may leave the experience wondering, “Did what I do matter at all?”
A common question.
Taking on the mindset of a rescuer is a mindset that may not serve you well. That puts the burden squarely on your shoulders for the outcomes. If someone you serve does not seem better, happier, content or more well through your engagement with him/her then you really weren’t “successful”. And in our mind, it can be too easy to begin to keep score on those helped vs. those not. If we aren’t ”scoring” enough, it may not be worth our time, we may find ourselves to be frustrated and we might just quit altogether.
Consider taking on the mindset of one who has been rescued. We were orphans in this world, outcasts, without the necessary “papers” to enter God’s kingdom. We were alone and lost. And despite any effort on our own, nothing changed this. Jesus came to rescue us from this, and to adopt us into his family, giving us a Heavenly Father and entrance into his House. We are no longer alone, destitute and cast out. We are part of his Family.
As I consider having been rescued, and I did nothing to aid this nor it was deserved, I take on the role of God’s agent for change. I am no longer the rescuer. No more was I able to improve my circumstance or standing, I am also unable to save or truly serve others without Christ. I am his hands and feet. I do his bidding. The outcomes are left to him. No need to keep score on my accomplishments.
Christians historically been the consistent group of people that have stepped in the gap for those suffering in this world. We’re called to do so. And in each and every case, those first to provide aid were in need of rescue themselves.
Acknowledging I needed rescue, and that I have been rescued, allows me to feel free to help as I am able, yet knowing that Christ is truly the rescuer. I no longer need to carry that burden.
[Image credit: good news great joy dot com]