Monday, August 29, 2016

The Paradox of Self in the Art of Service

God doesn’t need us, but, shudder to think, He wants to use us to build His Kingdom for His glory.  For, when His Kingdom is built, it is for His glory, which also means it’s the best result for all concerned — beautiful outcomes of love merged with truth.
The paradox of self in the art of service is two concepts, enjoined, united, complementary, together for the act of teamwork.  ‘Self’ and ‘service’ would otherwise be inanely foreign, but for the fact that when the self is stripped of all pride and self-consciousness, it’s the very agent for success in the concept of service.  See how ‘self’ and ‘service’ may be worst of enemies and best of friends, depending on whether self is full of self or emptied of self.
The paradox of self in the art of service is such that only the self is able to serve, yet the self is acting as if it were not just a self — it’s acting out of interdependence.  And only when the self chooses passionately to serve is service truly what God designed it to be; a Holy Spirit sponsored act completely devoid of selfishness.
Service is always a thing for another, and in this case, principally God, though others are directly blessed.
In the way of the Kingdom, service is something that’s known by its fruit.  It has an indelible and tangible effect.  Coming without an agenda, a person serves out of the sheer delight of being God’s emissary, ironically, without even the need to serve.
So, service is a paradox: we serve out of the delight that we can, though without feeling any pressure of the need to serve.  True service, hence, is about devotion and not about duty.
Serving God requires availability and willingness; nothing else, certainly nothing that we can ‘bring’.  Then the Holy Spirit shows us what to do.  It’s then that God shows us He’s alive, with us, in the very minute service we’re doing.
The lasting paradox of service is that God will do greatly through us what, through us, He requires no help from us on.  Only through complete reliance on His will and power will our service amount to anything Kingdom-worthy.
The best of service is done through the self, devoid of self, fully dependent on the Spirit.
Serving is the final corrective of the self.  To serve joyfully is the final subjugation of the self.
When we resolve to be open to whatever God is doing, free of need to add our competence, we’re powerful instruments of God’s grace.
© 2016 Steve Wickham.

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