When I see the question of how to serve God, I immediately feel intimidated. Even as someone who considers themselves as a spiritual leader, knowing how to serve God and what that looks like can feel dicey.
Is there a right way? A wrong way? To serve God sounds like a momentous task, a heavy responsibility placed upon your shoulders. There’s a tendency to overwhelm others, or push ideas down others’ throats. Perhaps the image of a priest in the pulpit comes to mind, or the evangelist asking for donations as they try to “save you.”
We must wrestle with these preconceived notions of serving God. At the same time, we can change them. I don’t know about you, but that’s very empowering. And we can serve God in everything we do. It can turn into a continual progression and lifelong venture.
If you’re still with me, let’s explore how to serve God in whatever way most aligns with your gifts. You don’t have to be outspoken, nor do you need a collar around your neck to proclaim your spirituality and live a compassionate, loving life.
let’s define “how to serve God”
What do I even mean when discussing how to serve God? Does that mean we’re just servants, or puppets, or pieces on a chess board?
At least from my upbringing, God felt like some distant white guy with a beard, sitting on a throne made of clouds in some place called Heaven. I knew God as someone to fear because sin and temptation by “the Enemy” is always afoot.
That kind of relationship didn’t work for me, and it doesn’t work for a lot of people. When I talk about serving God, I don’t rely upon that imagery reliant upon a constant battle for authority, a war waged against “sin.”
To serve God, fully and authentically, I want to focus on the core essence of who God is for each of us. At the heart of existence, what remains? And how can we bring forth our core values of love and compassion in a world that feels cold and heartless?
the heart of serving God
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Serving God can take on a countless number of personas and actions. Simply put, the intentions behind your living make the biggest difference.
We don’t exist in a vacuum. Every choice we make sets the stage for what matters to us and how we perceive our greater purposes. It might not feel that way at face value, but hear me out.
It seems wrong to consider spirituality in places where we’ve been told to keep it all separate. Even as a strict proponent of separating Church and State, I cannot help but grapple with how God persistently lives in every crevice. You cannot compartmentalize that. So, why should I service be?
Just as the Divine is often subtly incorporated into our lives, so too our service can be. Evangelism and worship liturgy have their own goals and places to exist, but they don’t have to define our service to God. Where some people thrive, others won’t resonate. Good thing we’re each uniquely created with our own strengths and purposes.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: gratitude, that cliche “attitude of gratitude,” can set apart what may otherwise seem mundane and forgettable.
Our days are marked with routines, work, tasks, and whatever you might write down on the calendar. How often do you stop yourself to consider the immense blessings in your midst? The fact you have tasks at all to do and the ability to do so shouldn’t go unnoticed.
Consider your life, what’s true and alive for you, and give gratitude to anyone or anything that allows for that reality. If you’re reading this on a computer between whatever work you have, then you’re likely standing on a high pillar of privilege. That needs recognition and thankfulness. In everything, we can find blessings.
How might you change how you go about the world if you did so knowing that you are an active catalyst in God’s Creation? What you do, and why you do it, and how you go about it, color our vision and perspective.
As I mentioned already, we don’t each exist in separate vacuums. Every action ripples outward and inevitably affects something or someone beyond your own existence. Becoming more cognizant of this hopefully leads to more conscious choices that uplift God’s love and compassion.
We cannot go through the world without hurting others. Our society’s structure inevitably makes that happen. However, we can see every purchase, vote, and action as an opportunity to practice our empathy for one another and all of Earth. Yes, that can sound big and intimidating, but start small. Buy fair trade and from small local business. Be a lending hand where you can. Give to causes you believe in. Spread the love every single inch of Creation deserves.
Regardless of what resources you have available, you can always make intentions for serving God. Another way to phrase it: how can you serve love in our world? Even if you feel like you have a small footprint on the world, an existence that isn’t as impactful as someone richer and influential, your intentions matter. Serving God knows no status, only limitless compassion.
Anything can become a prayer. Any words can become your liturgy, and any new discoveries can strengthen your theology. When you no longer put restraints on when you choose to actively worship and praise the Divine, creativity flourishes. Beauty becomes evident in everything.
Serve God by fully expressing your voice and gifts. In the events you dread, how can you bring God to life? Spirit’s breath pervades everything; all it takes is some recognition and intention to uplift that.
Creation is always is progress, and we have active roles in what Creation becomes. What kind of world do you want to see? And how can you serve God to fit that vision? The possibilities are truly endless, and that fact alone is a reason to celebrate.
Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie
join the soul searchers and receive a weekly newsletter to start your week on a healing note.