We either try hard to serve God and others and do the right thing, or we don’t serve God or others, because we find being a try-hard impossible, and so give up. But the true basis for serving has nothing to do with being a try-hard.
God serves us before we ever think of serving God or others. Public Christian worship use to be called “Divine Service”. It was commonly thought this meant us serving God (the Divine), however in Christian theology it means God (the Divine) serving us.
Jesus said, “I came not to be served, but to serve, and to give my life as a ransom for many” (Mt 20:28). His giving of His life, to death, for love of us, conquers all our lovelessness, and fires and empowers us to give all of ourselves in loving service to God and others.
Try-hard service is burdensome, heartbreaking, in fact impossible, leading to despair, or enmeshes us in the delusion of self-made success, leading to demonic pride.
Christian service is 100% grace, yet it is also 100% us, because we participate 100% in everything that Christ is doing. We are like surf boards picked up and riding the crest of the tidal wave of Jesus’ gracious action.
Bon voyage, Jonathan.