Service is not always something highly esteemed or a position eagerly sought after. However, it is a position to which we might wish to give more consideration. It is generally accepted in behavioral health that it is personally beneficial to be helpful to others; it is desirable to have the ability to understand another person’s perspective (empathy) and to be compassionate to others. Yet, it seems we people are becoming more and more divided. The differences are less the problem than our demand to defend a position to the point of verbally (at least) destroying people who disagree. If one so believes in their truth, there is no need to destroy the opposition. That is not a particularly effective strategy in convincing another anyway.
There are a couple of things I found compelling in the verse above. One, that it refers to “EACH“ of us – meaning ALL of us people. Two, that each “HAS received a SPECIAL gift”. Three, that gift is to be used in service of others. Four, that gift was given by the grace of God.
Too often people do not see the value in themselves whether that is their value to themselves or to others. When that is the case, they tend to be rather angry and certainly do not seek to use their gifts to serve one another. If they do, they often serve as a method of receiving which many times ends in disappointment. If we serve as unto the Lord, the reaction of others in the short run is less disturbing. The service is most beneficial when performed for the inherent value of serving – keeping the big picture and long run in mind which involves adding value to the world by using our God-given gifts to make the world a better place. Although it is paradoxical, this approach is how we people are going to do better individually and collectively.
Behavioral Health professionals and their clients tend to spend much of their time on the problems (which may be defendable), but it might be that we would do well to spend time looking for what is right with us. If we spent more time looking for what is right with ourselves and in each other, we might find it easier to find commonality and seek ways to serve one another. This approach has promise, in my opinion, to narrow the divide and increase connection. We can agree to disagree while respecting each other as each having a special gift.
Service is an ACTION. It involves DOING. Doing is better than stewing (paraphrase of an Albert Ellis quote). Doing (behavioral activation) is commonly recommended as a way to relieve depression. Another commonly known phrase is “be the change you want to see”.
Let 1 Peter 4:10 ring true for you. Recognize that God gave you a gift – likely many! Find some way to serve others and add value to your life, theirs and the world.