Freedom in Service

484_8456-optSomeone told me recently that if you don’t know what to do next in life, find somewhere to serve. We are always called to serve God, to “work out our salvation with fear and trembling,” and to love our neighbor. And inevitably, we will be blessed in extraordinary abundance by he who called us to his work.

I came to Israel nearly two years ago to volunteer at the Caspari Center. I had spent seven weeks at Caspari the preceding summer, so I was already well aware that my tasks would hardly be glamorous or high-powered. My daily work ranged from website maintenance to budget planning, deep-cleaning the fridge, and fetching the mail. However, on more than one occasion, both Western Christians and local believers visiting our center would shake my hand, look me in the eye, and say, “Thank you for serving, thank you for giving your time to this ministry.” I would promptly mumble something vague and incoherent and extract myself as soon as possible. Sure, I had given eighteen months to Caspari. And yes, I had left my family, home country, and familiar surroundings. But I did not really accept that my volunteering was an act of service. So I asked myself why, and I discovered that my concept of “service” was based on a worldly perspective, not on God’s.

“Service,” in my mind, came with connotations of Hannah_pic-optsacrifice, duty, and even a hint of unwillingness. However, it was a sheer joy to come to work at Caspari every morning. We started each day with brothers and sisters reading the Word and encouraging each other in prayer, and then set out to work. As a volunteer, my tasks helped keep the office running, and it was rewarding and satisfying to see the fruit of that work. So rather than fitting into my preconceived notion of service, my time at Caspari was one of life and enjoyment. My concept of service started changing.

The Lord had surely called me to come and serve in Israel by working at Caspari. Rather than relating to God in this service as a bound slave, I came to find a freedom in acting out his calling for me. I have felt the joy of living in his land and growing in love for his people and his plans to bring the Jewish people home. I have been privileged to be in a Godly, encouraging environment where I have been able to personally learn from mature believers who have ministered to me. I have had the opportunity and space to deepen my understanding of Scripture.

So when God calls us for his purpose, it does not manifest as a duty or a chore. It feels right. God does not “use” us the way humans “use” each other. When we are his slaves, we are really free (1 Pet 2:16). It is a true joy to be serving out what God has called me to do. Since I know that he can and will use me for his glory—that it has nothing to do with me—I know I can rest assured that he will bless me in service and turn slavery into true freedom in him.

Hannah Gyde