We are almost finished with this year’s Winter Guard competition season; and of course, I have been mom-on-the-spot, watching guard after guard give it their all. You can tell the guards that are 100% committed to their performance. Certainly the proficiency each member demonstrates is one indication. Almost more than that, though, is the way the members communicate their message through their facial expressions. One group in particular is etched in my mind.
Their performance was designed to an Irish folk tune. All of the members were very vocal as part of their show, which is rather unusual. They leapt, tossed their flags and weapons–and laughed, whooped, and smiled the biggest smiles I’ve ever seen! Their smiles reached their eyes. 🙂 I swear one gal actually smiled at me! It caught me completely off guard (hee hee!), leaving me feeling a bit uncomfortable.
It shouldn’t have, though. This girl was having a ball—giving herself totally to her performance. Her excitement was contagious! I smiled and laughed in response to her smile and laughter. Her performance brought tears to my eyes.
That’s how we are supposed to live our lives, too!
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. (Colossians 3:23-24 NIV)
Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free. (Ephesians 6:7-8 NIV)
What does it really mean to serve wholeheartedly, or to work at something with all your heart? It can mean to do something with zest or gusto. It can also mean doing things from a heart of love and with sincerity.
Are we really supposed to have that attitude with everything?
It’s easy to view ministry and service as only those things which stem from the church, or happen at the church–like teaching a Bible study, working in the children’s ministry, or giving money to support evangelistic organizations. Those are wonderful ministries, and we should serve in them joyfully.
My mom often reminds me, though, Your first mission field is your home. I tend to think of that in terms of priorities, but it also applies to how we love our families. Our homes are the proving ground for our faith.
Some tasks, like folding laundry and mopping the kitchen floor (again!!), are tedious and seem never-ending. Cleaning up puke for the umpteenth time in the middle of the night, is downright disgusting. But you do it anyway, and comfort your child in the middle of it. Regardless of what we’re doing, the attitude with which we do it, is what counts. We don’t have to be smiling with zeal in the midst of our daily chores. But we can do them with love. We serve as though we are serving the Lord Himself personally–which, in fact, we are.
The world may not see our faces as we mop more sweat from our brows than we do dirt from our floors. But God does. Even better, He sees our hearts. And He smiles in return.
When we are in our communities serving alongside others, the love and joy we share in our countenances and attitudes can leave an impact on those around us. Like the young, excited guard girl.
For people in the middle of a difficult time, we may be their only glimpse of joy that day.
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:58 NIV)