"Something happens when you serve. Something you cannot control. You start with all kinds of obstacles, fear, incompetence, and even a desire to avoid the hopelessness that occurs when you realize that you do not have the power within you to fix people. Something changes and you stop seeing people and you see a person. Maybe even for a fleeting second you see a person through God's eyes... and that is when you get it. Serving was never about them. Serving is about getting gripped in the heart by God. And he touches your heart through the ones you serve."
-- Barefoot Church by Brandon Hatmaker
I read this tonight and it summarizes my experience so well. My first attempts at serving the poor were so stumbling and pitiful. I first decided to go to the local free community meal and help serve. They asked me to take care of the drinks. That sounded easy until 100 people started filing in and there were only two of us trying to pour and deliver all those drinks. I was overwhelmed and frustrated. People complained that we missed their table, I didn't know where the sugar was for the tea, we ran out of ice.... Talk about feeling incompetent. I did not feel like Mother Theresa but more like Cinderella before the ball. I found myself feeling grumpy and critical. Then God's voice whispered that I wasn't here to feel good or get brownie points, I was here to give an offering of service. Well, my offering was pitiful, but I gave it and I kept coming back. Eventually I started getting to know the regulars and I got better at serving drinks. Now I chat with them and serve them with smile and I love it.
Then there was the night of the tailgate party for the homeless. (See my post - The Homeless are Healing my Heart). That was when I got to see some people through God's eyes. I hugged a hurting veteran and listened to his stories. I saw individual people that night, not just a group of homeless and God did grip my heart.
The farther I get on this journey I realize that the things God calls us to are not meant to be painfully sacrificial. It may be difficult at first. Transformation is not easy. However, in the end, the changes he calls for are meant to give us joy and the abundant life he promised.