// self-righteous service?

A few thoughts on service, courtesy of Richard Foster:

  1. Self-righteous service comes by human effort… True service comes from a relationship with the ‘deep other’ inside.
  2. Self-righteous service is excited by the ‘big deal’. True service welcomes all opportunities to serve.
  3. Self-righteous service requires external rewards… True service is content in hiddenness, for it to be enough that God alone sees.
  4. Self-righteous service is highly concerned about results. True service sees no need to calculate the results; it is happy just in the service.
  5. Self-righteous service picks and chooses who to serve. True service is indiscriminate in its ministry.
  6. Self-righteous service is affected by mood and whims; health or sleep levels control the desire to serve… True service ministers simply and faithfully, simply because there is a need.
  7. Self-righteous service is temporary. True service is a lifestyle.
  8. Self-righteous service is insensitive. It demands an opportunity to help. True service can wait when appropriate…
  9. Self-righteous service fractures community. It puts others in its debt; as one of the very subtle methods of manipulation. True service builds community.


At least from where I’m sitting, a lot of those resonate with me. And I don’t like that.

I don’t know that I agree with all of Foster’s statements, but I do think they’re useful food for thought, no matter who you are. How about you?

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