By Fr. Roy Cimagala
THAT’S how we should serve. Without conditions, without saying enough, without feeling entitled, without strings attached. With such attitude toward serving, we channel the very way Christ served us and continues to do so up to now and until the end of time.
We are reminded of this truth of our faith in that part of the gospel where Christ told his apostles: “Who among you would say to your servant who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, ‘Come here immediately and take your place at table’? Would he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare something for me to eat. Put on your apron and wait on me while I eat and drink. You may eat and drink when I am finished’?” (Lk 17,7-8)
That gospel episode concluded with Christ practically telling his apostles that whatever service they—and we—do should be considered as something always expected of us. These are his words: “When you have done all you have been commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.’”
We should strengthen our attitude of wanting to serve without expecting any reward and without putting any condition. This was what Christ himself has shown us when he went to the extent of washing the feet of his apostles, and most especially, when he offered his life on the cross to pay for all our sins. Thus, by serving that way, we become like Christ as we should.
Serving is the language of love. It is love in action and not just in intention and words. We have to take advantage of every opportunity to serve God and others. In fact, we have to look always for such opportunities and not wait for them to come to us.
If we truly love God and everybody else, with a love that is nothing less than a participation of the love God has for us and as commanded by Christ to us, then we will never say enough in our serving.
Even if such attitude would already seem to be going beyond common sense, our reason and other human and worldly standards that we usually use to measure our love, we should still go on giving ourselves by serving, never saying enough. We should just give and give, even if we seem to consume ourselves till death.
This is, of course, an overwhelming prospect, but that is what true love is. It is some kind of madness that knows no limits. It is given without measure, without cost, without any calculation.
We are not doing God and the others any favor when we serve them. That is what is expected of us. To serve and not to be served was the attitude Christ had, and it should be the same attitude we ought to have.
Loving and serving cannot and should not be quantified in terms of cost and reward. It is above all these considerations. It’s a purely spiritual operation that should not be spoiled by giving it some material and temporal value. It’s where we can approximate, keep and build up that dignity of being the image and likeness of God and adopted children of his. It’s how we become God-like as we ought.
The nice thing about this kind of attitude toward serving is that we would actually gain and receive more from God the more we serve and give ourselves to him and to the others.