Week #7 – Taking up the Towel – The Refreshment of Service
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 10:45)
There is a great Latin phrase that can help us understand the Refreshment of Service. It is incurvatus en se. It means ‘to be curved in on one’s self’. You can form the mental image for yourself. It is a silly posture when you think about it, but it is so easy to assume. When we focus our attention on our own needs, our own problems and our own situation in life, we become incurvatus en se. Even when we are working diligently for God’s kingdom we can go for a long time failing to lift our eyes up beyond the horizon of our own busy world. The products of living incurvatus en se are exhaustion, anxiety, resentment and a dry spirit.
How do we get out of this posture? By serving others. The blessings of service are abundant and transformational. Serving others lifts our eyes to see our own life in greater perspective. In serving our neighbor we consider our neighbor’s needs, which always makes us thankful for what we have. In serving we invest time in something of value beyond our own small world, which always bring greater value to the things in that world. Most importantly, serving ‘uncurves’ us. It opens us up toward others and re-forms us outwardly that God may do a great transformational work within us.
In these ways and more, service refreshes our spirit.
Do you want to have a reason to smile today? Find someone in real need and serve them. Does your countenance need lifted? Seek out a neighbor in need and meet that need for them. Do you want to be refreshed in spirit? Be a source of refreshment in the life of someone else.
Blessed Lord, I confess that I live too much of my life curved in on myself. Today I humbly submit to your reforming work in my life. Open me up toward others. Give me a servant’s heart and put my hands and feet into action on behalf of my neighbor. And please Lord, do it today. Help me not rest my head on my pillow this day until I have taken the opportunity to serve my neighbor. And in my serving, refresh my spirit for your work. Uncurve me, Lord that I may be a blessing to others, and through serving them that I would glorify you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.