A Near Death Experience

There’s a prerequisite for heaven.  It’s called death.

You remember that line from the movie, Princess Bride?  “There’s dead and then there’s mostly dead.”

The other day I realized I was only mostly dead.  Or even less than that.  Maybe just a smidge dead.

But I wanted to be SEEN as totally dead.  Dead to self.  To selfishness.  To self-centeredness.

Several times in the course of two days I gave time and effort and gave up comfort to go out of my way and serve someone.

And you know what?  It didn’t seem to matter at all.  No one said “thanks”, much less threw a parade.

The kid I tutor was rude and uncooperative.  The meal I made for someone didn’t fit their dietary restrictions.  And, and, and…

And my bratty 13-year-old self, wanted a high five or at least a little “Woohoo!” from Jesus.  And by that I mean from everyone around me.

The main person I really wanted to serve was myself.

I wanted the image of serving others, and the perk of being noticed and admired.

I wanted it to look like I had a shiny outside but my inside was pretty gross…maggoty in fact.

Have you ever recognized this in yourself?  Maybe once?

If we stay in this place and just feel really crappy about ourselves it’s still just about… us.

But then there’s grace.  That unbelievable reassurance that we’re loved anyway.

And what if, in those moments, we stop and pay attention to the cranky pants feelings and ask Jesus to join us in the serving, and the dying, and transform us.  

He can do that!

What if we actually chose secret acts of service?  Just for Jesus and no one else.

As a southern friend of mine would say, ‘Lord have mercy!” We might have more than a near death experience.  And a little bit of heaven might come to earth.

When is it easiest and hardest for you to serve others?

2 Comments

  1. Thanks for this post Laura. Mike Hotz and I were talking about ‘motives’ to serve this morning. I have found that when my motives to serve are based on my notions of ‘goodness’ then I wane in my devotion, energy, and endurance…because it’s about ME. But when my desire to serve is founded in responding to the injustice suffered by another, meeting their felt need, or empathizing with their situation my ‘service’ is completely different. It’s focused on restoring the other, rooted in for the way things SHOULD be instead of the way they are.
    Being involved in Israel/Palestine and Congo during the hight of the conflict is ‘trendy’, but how can we endure past the hype and pats on the back? The needs are so apparent, but would we serve even if (and when) the whole world wasn’t (isn’t) watching?

    • Great insights Chelsie, thanks!

      I can get discouraged that my “heart is deceitful above all things”. How can our motives ever be pure?

      I agree about the “sexy cause of the moment” phenomenon too. I’m encouraged that God never turns His back…knows every name and sees every tear and continues to show up. We just need to go into all those places with Him regardless.

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