“Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” Luke 15 1-7
Sometimes, perhaps a lot of times, we are that one lost sheep. God leaves everything behind to look for us because He is in need of our love. He doesn’t ask for explanations but holds us in his arms and forgives us. Love is the language of his Sacred Heart.
But what does this have to do with making service a way of life?
Like Christ’s apostles, we are also the shepherd!
“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.” — Galatians 5:13
As God says, we are free, but to serve humbly in love. And what other way to be freer than to serve the only truth! As apostles, we are called to serve and show the world who Jesus is, and that includes being shepherds of the people we evangelize, in order to guide them, because we all need company in our way to our sanctification.
But for that we need to empty ourselves and let God fill us. Giving yourself to others will never be that easy, but it will come freely and naturally from your heart. Having trouble with that? Ask God to magnify that love in your heart! Let him know you’ve taken the decision to serve, to love.
You are probably asking yourself: Me? How can I help? I’m not really that good… But remember it is not about having the ability nor the qualities, but to love without measure. You supply your love, God supplies the qualities. And there is always going to be a chance for you to help, — you just have to be available for God’s plan.
Here are some tips that may help your service spirit grow:
- Don’t wait for “the perfect moment” to do good — it is ALWAYS the perfect moment.
- Our Mother Mary is a great example of service as she abandons herself to serve God: “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Let her be your model!
- Keep your mind focused. Your goal is to introduce people to God’s mercy and grace. Let them know they are loved.
- Be humble. You are God’s instrument! He is the one that inspires you to do good and to make things a reality! He is the only one that deserves all the glory.
- Stay awake! So you never get yourself bored of doing good.
- Be happy! Christ is happiness and the fact that you get to share him with others is more than a reason to keep that smile on your face and fire in your heart.
- Practice your empathy and patience. Empathy is the key to understand people and figure out how can we help them, a virtue we all need to foster.
- Pray! The more we fill ourselves with God, the more we reflect his love.
“God didn’t add another day in your life because you needed it, he added it because someone out there needs you.”
So think about it twice: Service as a way of life, why not?