Wrong Perspective Hinders Serving

A few weeks ago I was in a business picking up some material that was promised at a certain time and it wasn’t ready.   The manager came over and apologized and took responsibility for the problem and didn’t charge me for the order.   It was a $160 mistake on their part, but I am a big fan and promoter of this store now.  This was more than compensating for a problem, it was an investment for their company.   He paid for some long-term positive, enthusiastic advertising from me!    From a big-picture viewpoint it was a great deal for him and the company he represents.

Unfortunately, I have more negative than positive stories in customer service.   It is rare to see excellent service in the business world today.   Why is this true?

I think it is because of a perspective that focuses on the short-term rather than the long-term.   When you have a transactional mindset you see things strictly from an asset and liability standpoint.   Everything is carefully measured from an equity point of view.  This is devastating to offering good service.

This same attitude (a transactional perspective) hinders our serving each other in our families.   “I’ll do this if you will do this…I’ll care for this for you if you will care for that…You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours”.    The focus is on the scales balancing rather than ministering and meeting needs.    Those that “keep score” do so because they see only the present benefits of an action.

The only way to deal with this problem is to realize that ultimately you are serving the
Lord.   This perspective changes the way you approach serving others.   Note what the Bible says to employees concerning their attitude toward their employers in the workplace.

“And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.”   (Colossians  3:23-24)

This is powerfully motivating!   God will reward me for the quality of work and service that I provide even if I am not recognized for it in this life.

My son, Jonathan, teaching his cousins, Connor and Annie, how to fish.

The majority of the time those that serve don’t receive their reward down here.   And it can seem like you are going to be left out completely or receive the leftovers.  God promises that when a believer does what is right He will not forget him – “…to him that soweth righteousness shall be a sure reward.”    (Proverbs 11:18)

If you fight and claw to ensure that you get your way, you probably will.  But your
reward will end right there.   It will be a temporal reward rather than an eternal one – and that is not a good tradeoff!

The premise is simple: willing service is not offered by people that see everything as a transaction.  There must be a big picture perspective or you will stop serving because the rewards down here are usually not commensurate with the labor you have invested.

And that includes our roles in the family.   If I see everything through the lens of how I personally benefit, I won’t serve my family well.

I will never be able to repay my parents for how much they have given to me.   That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try, but the degree of their love and sacrifice is beyond my comprehension.   If they had cared for me only as I was able to offer in return I would have been in a heap of trouble.

I want my wife, children, brother and sister to feel like I have made an investment in their lives – and without any thought of it being done from a transactional perspective.   When this type of heart-felt sacrificial, loving service is given it is more than a transaction.   It is transformational.   It changes the relationship and the environment in which we relate.

When we stop “keeping score” we begin to give our hearts away to others and relational closeness is just around the corner.

My oldest child, Jeremiah, and Paula, a great servant of the Lord and of our family.

About familyencouragement

Pastor of Friendship Baptist Church in Huntsville, Alabama. Married for 41 years with seven children and nine grandchildren.
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