Saturday, August 8, 2009

Service to Each Other

When I think of the term "service," I immediately think of military duty or waiting on tables for tips. In a church setting, I think of the term "service" as volunteering in the nursery or going on a mission trip to build houses in a third world country.

I don't think of service as something which I do every day, all day long, in my home. Chapman writes that the choice to have a child is the choice to serve another person for years - with diapers, feeding, bathing morphing into homework, training ... the list is endless.

I have made that choice twice. I spend a good portion of my day, every day, doing acts that are for the sole benefit of my children. I do their laundry. I feed them. I dress them. I bathe them. I make sure they get to school. I take them to the doctor. I give them medicine. I change diapers. I kiss boo-boos.

I never thought of these many acts of motherhood as acts of service. Many of those acts are actually enjoyable to me. Do acts of service have to be unpleasant? Do acts of service have to be something the church organized and sanctioned? Do acts of service have to be "bigger" than my many minute tasks of motherhood?

Changing a diaper seems more like a chore than an act of service. It takes less than a minute. Most of the time it is not that dirty of a process. Yet, at its most basic level, changing a diaper meets a need. My children need clean, dry diapers in order to be healthy. They cannot do it for themselves. So my simple act of changing a diaper is an act of service to my children.

This post is inspired by the book Five Signs of a Loving Family by Gary Chapman.

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