Selfless service is an act performed without any expectation of reward
And the king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the persons, but take the goods for yourself.” But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I have lifted my hand to the Lord, God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth, that I would not take a thread or a sandal strap or anything that is yours, lest you should say, ‘I have made Abram rich.’ I will take nothing but what the young men have eaten, and the share of the men who went with me.” (Genesis 14:21–24a)
Selfless service is a term that conjures dramatic rescues in the face of life-threatening danger. Dramatic rescues and life-threatening danger, however, are not everyday occurrences. What part can selfless service play in everyday life?
I read a story in 2013 about a young Army specialist’s wife who inadvertently became the leader of her Family Readiness Group (FRG) when the commander’s wife was not interested in the job. The young woman worked hard to make the FRG a support for other military spouses in the unit. The challenge came when a new commander came in—and his wife was interested in leading the FRG. Great potential for drama!
The new commander’s wife could have strong-armed her way into what was rightfully her position. Instead, she met with the young FRG leader and got to know her. The article affirmed both women for their selfless service as they worked together to put the needs of soldiers and their families above all else. They were willing to listen to each other rather than compete for position. The young wife remained the leader of the group and the commander’s wife became the adviser. The new commander stated, “Both women should be commended for the humility they demonstrated in handling a delicate situation. They put the needs of soldiers and their families above all else.”1
Selfless service is an act performed without any expectation of reward. It is the type of service that Abraham exhibited following the victorious battle in Genesis 14. The king of Sodom offered Abraham a portion of the spoils of war. Abraham had every right to take the plunder, but he chose not to accept the offer in order to remain above reproach in the eyes of his Canaanite neighbors. He surrendered his rights and refused personal gain in order to keep God’s name untarnished.
What is your motivation for service? Would you continue to serve in an area even if you were not recognized?
Prayer for the Journey
Lord, I want to live a life that points others to you. Help me never tarnish your name by my words, attitudes, or actions. Amen.
1 Anthony Bell, “Family Readiness Group Grows Through Leadership, Selfless Service,” Fort Lee Traveler, December 5, 2013, http://www.ftleetraveller.com/news/local_news/article_a224effe-5d2b-11e3-87d0-0019bb2963f4.html (accessed February 2, 2014).