Ask How to Serve Not Why

It’s easy to fall into distrust of our fellow man. Even those of us who live compassionately and generously stoop to cynicism from time to time. 

Stories about fraud, deceit, and hypocrisy plaster the news. Likely, most of us know someone personally who has lied to get what she/he wanted. Perhaps you have even suffered directly because of another person’s lies. 


Given people’s propensity for such selfish acts, it’s prudent to be cautious in relationships with strangers. That’s called wisdom. However, while prudence and wisdom are admirable traits, cynicism is harmful. 

Not long ago, a woman called our church needing food because, she said, everything in her car was stolen and her and her husband had nothing to eat. As a few of us attempted to connect her with a place that could provide the necessary food, a niggling sense of doubt crept into my mind and stunted my compassion.

I’m not happy to admit it, but cynicism tainted my generosity and empathy: Certainly she had some food at home? Didn’t she have a friend or family member who’d provide for her needs for a little while? Why does she really want it? 

And, sadly, I wasn’t the only one thinking that way. 

How To Serve Not Why

Let’s explore this a bit.

From a Christian standpoint what difference does it make whether the person to be served is truly desperate or not? Whether they are as needy as they pretend to be?

After all, Jesus never asked if the 5,000 were actually hungry before providing fish and bread (Luke 9:10-17).

He never made the crippled man prove he had actually attempted to get in the healing pool before offering the healing (John 5:1-8).

He never demanded that Jairus show he exhausted every other avenue to make his daughter well before coming to Jesus for help (Luke 8:50-52). 

God doesn’t require we earn or justify His help. He offers it freely, often without us even asking for it or knowing exactly what we need.

As His followers, that is how we should live in relationship to others. Serve unconditionally. Ask how we can help, not why. The why has already been covered: to show the love of the Lord to others, to be His tangible love on earth. Because “He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).

And the Lord’s love never requires proof or performance!

God doesn't require we earn or justify His help. He offers it freely, often w/o us even asking for it or knowing exactly what we need. God's love never requires proof or performance! As His followers, that is how we should live in relationship to… Click To Tweet

Next time you have an opportunity to serve, think of the amazing gifts God pours out to us deceivers and hypocrites. And extend that same love by asking how not why. 

“For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself. But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.” (Galatians 5:13-15)

Reflection: Do you battle cynicism? Have you tried asking how you can serve someone instead of asking why they need serving? How did that work? 

Joining multitudes who are taking Ann Voskamps 2013 Joy Dare. Apparently for the month of December, we are not linking up at A Holy Experience, so you’ll have to just enjoy my list (#2355–2375, read the entire list by clicking here):

  • Snow glittering in sun as it falls from trees; Lights strung in kitchen; Braved recording intro to fruit of spirit series
  • Resilience of an old friendship; Coming home to a crock of chicken soup after a long, cold day; Flickering candles
  • Christmas Cantata practice-love it!; Sun-touched ice on my windshield; Daughter Rachel’s eagerness to please & joy in it
  • Crimson sky this morning; Golden sky tonite-glorious shows; Communicating w/ my daughter thru her device-an amazing gift
  • Supper ready when I walk in the door; Special Christmas teas; Visiting a friend who cannot get out
  • Danny home safely through the snow; Afternoon of family fun as we cut down our Christmas trees; Boughs of green
  • Stillness of a snowy winter’s night; Together to decorate our Christmas tree & barn; Rach communicating more w/ her device

By His grace ≈


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Find hope in your real-life struggles. We'll chase it together! I am a wife; mom of 4 (including a young adult daughter with special needs); miscarriage mom of 5; author & follower of Jesus Christ. I write, edit, speak and enjoy everything outdoors.

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