Two Enemies of Service

There are two main enemies that will prevent us from serving one another. They are laziness and busyness. David Gibson writes in his book on Ecclesiastes entitled, Living Life Backwards, the following:

How can I be a giver instead of a getter, a servant of others instead of lord of myself? When we stop and think about serving and loving our neighbor, it prevents two extremes: idle laziness and manic busyness. (pg. 71)

Of laziness, Gibson says:

Laziness is a way of hating your neighbors. You have nothing to give them…Instead of embracing life and giving himself to others, the sluggard gives himself to himself, so in the end all that he has left is himself… (pgs. 71-2)

When it comes to “manic busyness” I’m going to turn to Kevin DeYoung’s book, Crazy Busy where he quickly sums up the issue and gets to the heart of the matter. DeYoung says that often our “manic busyness” is due to pride and then he offers 12 different manifestations of pride saying: “Pride is the villain with a thousand faces” (pg. 35). I won’t offer all 12, but here is a quick sampling:

People-pleasing: Doing the cookie drive so you can love others is one thing. Doing the cookie drive so that others might love you is quite another. (pg. 35)

Pats on the Back: It’s similar to people-pleasing, except less motivated by fear than by desire for glory. “If I take on this extra assignment, I’ll be a hero to everyone in the office.” Never mind what it will mean for my family, my church, or my walk with the Lord, so long as it means more glory for me. (pg. 35)

Possessions: We work to earn, and we earn to spend. (pg. 36)

Proving Myself: …ambition for our own glory must not be confused with ambition for God’s glory. (pg. 36)

Pity: Let’s face it: people feel sorry for us when we’re busy. (pg. 37)

Power: “I need to stay busy because I need to stay in control.” (pg. 37)

DeYoung offers a simple diagnostic question to help:

Ask yourself: Am I serving me or serving them? Saying yes always looks like the latter, but it’s often all about the former. (pg. 40)

As we can see, both “manic busyness” and laziness are the result of sinful pride that has caused us to be turned inward. Yet, if we are going to serve others we must be focused outward. In both laziness and “manic busyness” we are giving our time to only ourselves (love of self). In order to serve others, we must give our time to them (love of others), but the controlling factor must be God’s glory instead of seeking our own glory. In short, we are talking about loving self for self-glory vs. loving others for God’s glory.

About Pastor Matt

Matt Baker is the Pastor of Redeemer Fellowship Church.
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