As Americans living in the 21st century, we are surrounded by a culture that glorifies consumerism. We are pushed to gather MORE and BETTER and to indulge our every whim in the name of “self-care”. This mentality breeds a dangerous mindset of covetousness that keeps us enslaved to both objects and people. The Lord did not call us to any of that. As Christians, we should be living a life of thanksgiving and contentment. Living a life rooted in thanks to the Lord allows us to experience true contentedness and frees us from these bonds. More than that even, we are called to true freedom through serving others. Galatians 5:13 tells us
“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love”.
We have been given such a beautiful gift of freedom through the forgiveness we gained through Christ’s death and resurrection. As Paul reminds us, our freedom was never intended to cause us to sin- it was intended to cause us to serve! Our freedom in Christ has given us the ability to shun the bonds of “self-care” our culture would place on us. Instead, it has allowed us freedom to love and serve one another without the sin of pride, which would keep us from being able to do so.
What does this look like in our lives? Let’s use Jesus as our example. He was, after all, the greatest servant of all.
“So when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments and reclined at the table again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? “You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. “If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you.” (John 13:12-15).
Then we use the gifts and callings He has given each of us.
“God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.” (1 Peter 4:10)
The Lord has given me the gift of being a mother. This gift came to me from a place of suffering and pain. My husband and I spent years attempting to have our own biological children before finding out that would never be a possibility for us. With some hesitation, my husband agreed to attend foster parent classes to foster one child- that was 6 years and over 100 children ago. We are currently in the middle of our third adoption from foster care and have made some of the most amazing relationships with biological and adoptive families from around the United States. If you look at our home or our finances you would be confused by how we can continue to bring children, both foster and adoptive, into our home (we currently have ten). All I can tell you is that when you are walking in obedience to the Lord, He makes a way.
It is not easy. Please don’t misunderstand me. Just this month I have had three different children brought to me as placements who brought along lice with them. When I realized the third was also infested with lice, I was angry. I was frustrated. I was tired of combing lice. I did it anyway. The next day, a friend who happens to teach at the third child’s school called me. She called to tell me that the child told his entire class that he had spent the night with a really nice lady who had finally gotten rid of his lice for him. What a sweet gift of grace the Lord gave me through that phone call!
Every single time I say yes, every single time I make the choice to intentionally serve others, the Lord makes a way, and my life is richer for it. The rewards He has given me are too numerous to count – the greatest being three of my five forever children who came to us through being obedient to His call to serve others. The Lord may not have called you to foster care as He called me, but I am confident, and the Bible tells me, He has called you to serve also. Making the choice to do that with intentionality every day will give you the freedom you crave and rewards you could not imagine. Better still, He provides us the grace to be able to do it even on the days we think we can’t.