Serving in the hidden place is incredibly good for me.
Finding places to serve others that no one else knows about is disproportionately good for my heart, good for my motives and is the best form of worship.
It’s good for my heart, because it means that it can’t be about me; it it’s not about me, that means I’m learning to love others without it being self-seeking.
It’s good for my motives, because when no one else is watching, who am I serving? When in full view, am I serving those other people or am I really sneakily serving myself? If no one can see, then it can’t be about my own ego.
It’s the best form of worship, as it means there is only one audience for my “performance”. Serving in the hidden place is an act of worship…part of loving Jesus is to love and serve others. Therefore, serving others, without them knowing, is worship. We do it for the audience of one.
Now, whilst I know these things, the reality of my life is quite different. If you’re anything like me, you aren’t very good at this…I think that I like the limelight too much. Or, not even the limelight, just acknowledgement…knowing that other people know how servant hearted I am…(which, as a side note, is pretty ironic, because if serving becomes about me, it’s no longer serving.)
Do you know what I mean?
I love the bits of life that mean I’m seen – the worship leading, speaking, running things, hosting stuff. I’m less good at putting out chairs, picking up litter or simply giving someone a lift. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t to do with being extroverted or introverted (for the record, I’m borderline between the two, but definitely getting more introverted!) this is to do with the aim of service.
Do we do it to be seen or do we do it to love Jesus and love our friends?
That’s what it boils down to. Where are the eyes of our hearts looking? At ourselves, or at Jesus? Is it self seeking or worship?
I hope that I am learning to take my eyes off myself and to look around at the need in the world, and how I can meet those needs. But, let’s face it, it’s really hard to cultivate the hidden place of service; we are all so conditioned to tell everyone about our lives, to advertise, to market, to flaunt. I love social media. At it’s best it’s fantastic. At it’s worst, it makes us self-seeking, attention-hungry and fairly selfish (not to mention a polished version of our true selves). Instead of being people who care about others, we become people who care about what those others think of us.
Serving in secret will change that in us.
Se let’s look to find those hidden places to serve. Be the person who turns up before everyone else and sets out the chairs. Be the person who weeds the church garden. Be the person who chooses to go the extra mile. Be the person who find the secret place of serving.
Be that person who learns to love Jesus more passionately through serving, loving, giving in the hidden place.
We will all be better off because of it.