I recently came to a dire realization... my life, my ENTIRE LIFE THUS FAR, has been a waste. What I have dedicated my life, my time, my thoughts, my love to has been self. Sometimes even under the guise of selflessness, but even sub consciously, serving others for my own glory, or my own purpose. Pure hedonism, absolute self centredness at its most refined. Some reading this may be thinking to themselves "so what, that's what we're all doing. Who cares?", and they would be right! What then does our life mean? Service to self? Service to others (which is still really selfishness in disguise)?...42? Or could there be something else? Is it possible that there is another that I could serve, in true selflessness, given wholly and completely to their glory, and honour, loving nothing more?
The answer is unequivocally YES! I'm sure by now any reading this have realized what I'm getting at, but this really is the unavoidable truth. We all serve something. The question you must than ask yourself is why you serve that, and how you do so. We all serve something, and I honestly believe that outside of full bore, whole hearted, whole minded, full spirit service to GOD driven by His Holy Spirit and guided by His Son, outside of that, we serve ourselves. Even those who appear to serve others with their whole being, are in essence, serving themselves. Where does the glory go? Who takes the honour? Even within church walls, within missionary organizations, there are those of us (myself included) who are doing it for their own glory, attempting it under their own power, convincing ourselves that we are doing it for something other than ourselves, thus legitimizing it as selfless.
For a number of years I have been convincing myself that I have been serving God, by being a good father, by being a hard worker, by being a loving husband, paying my bills, and amassing a bunch of stuff in the process, stuff that will rust, and decay and die. But I had told myself that I was a decent person, and that I tried to show the love of Christ to those around me, by being "selfless". Recently though my eyes have been opened to the vanity of it all. How can I say, that I serve God, in the Name of Christ, for His glory alone, unless I am willing to give up everything, all I have, my stuff, my self, even my family. For otherwise I am not truly serving Him in the way He Himself defined as service.
Matthew 10:34-39 says "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it." Harsh stuff, and many ask "why should I love and serve a God who asks me to do that? He doesn't have the right to tell me to turn my back on my family, or my life!" I must say to them then, that if God is indeed God, if he exists, He absolutely does have that right, otherwise He is not God!
The sword is figurative, by the way! But it does signify something... radical, absolute, dedication! Not luke warm partial service, not service that we can afford, not Christian radio and toungue in cheek "Christian" t-shirts that fit neatly into what can and should be called shallow/ affordable Christian pop-culture (I'm talking to you western church!), but in complete submission to Matthew 10. In a way that the world would say is unintelligent, and unaffordable, but in reality is the only Thing worth serving, as it is the only thing that is not truly fleeting.
To my atheist friends reading this, please understand, I do not say this to condemn you, or paint you all with the same brush, or even to put words in your mouth and act as though I am reading your mind, but I ask that you look introspectively at why you serve what you serve. Not just why you don't serve God, I understand that, you simply choose to believe that he does not exist based on what you personally consider compelling evidence. Or perhaps something else more personal. No matter what, or how you believe it, I ask you to do the same thing that I would ask any Christian. Look inside and see who you serve and ask yourself "Why?". Then, please, consider what it means to serve Christ and ask "Why not?". What I am asking, is that you put aside your presupposition that God does not exist, and that the Bible is just a fairy tale, or a conspiracy. Put that aside for a moment and consider the implication on your life if it were true. I ask this out of love, not to try to prove any one wrong, simply out of concern for what it might mean for you if indeed eternal life or death is possible. If you consider ,even just for a moment, that it may be possible...the implications are endless.