Two of the members of our immediate family enjoy acts of service being done for them as their primary love ‘language’. People tend to give love in the way they desire to receive. This can come in conflict when the love ‘languages’ differ. My spouse could care less if I write a letter or give a compliment but doing the dishes or taking out the trash are noticed and appreciated.
We perform acts of service everyday. And this love language seems self explanatory. However, if it is not on your radar and not your love ‘language’, you might miss opportunities to love others in this way.
If you are a parent, you know parenting is a service oriented vocation. The day you found out you would have a child is the day you enrolled for full-time service. Your service contract calls for a minimum of 18 years with an understanding that you will be on “active reserve” for several years after that.
Acts of service are physically and emotionally demanding so we must give attention to our own physical and emotional health. We need to be balanced when it comes to sleeping, eating, and exercising so we can be a better servant to those we love.
The question with this love ‘language’ we first must ask is whom do I serve?
For me, I serve my spouse, kids (even if mostly from a distance now), and hurting neighbors. I serve at church and in the community at large. Of course, we serve bosses and co-workers too, but the priority of whom to serve must start in the home.
The motivation for me is simply doing what is best for others and that often means to fill their love tanks an act of service needs to be performed.
Acts of service can help show love regardless of what primary love ‘language’ you speak.
When children come back from college who have been doing everything on their own (laundry, meal prep, etc), they may realize all the acts of service they have missed and be so much more appreciative now. Or if the main homemaker suddenly becomes ill, others in the household suddenly realize just what it takes to get everything done when doing acts of service that are often thanklessly received.
I believe the key ingredient to serving is making the time. Having a good attitude helps too.
In the home, children will learn to serve others by example. So, I urge you to teach your kids, nieces/nephews, or other young people in your life from a young age simple tasks and help to make them fun.
It takes more time to teach another but, I promise it is time well spent in the long wrong. Also, make sure you let go of perfectionism if that is something you struggle with and if need be tidy up after the kids are no longer around. For after all, the goal is to raise healthy productive adults that can be a compliment to society and not a burden.
So it is in their best interest to always take others along side and patiently teach them, child or adult.
When a child learns to walk what do we do, take their hand and help.
When they cross the street, we take their hands to protect.
When we go out in public, we take their hands to know where they are.
So when you are teaching them to serve, take them by the hand and show them patiently, lovingly, and kindly.
That goes for any age person learning something new, exercising patience in teaching will help them eventually do it like they were taught.
The motivation when we serve others is NOT to please them, it is to do what is best for them. When dishes are washed, socks sorted, healthy meals prepared, these are acts of service some will be thrilled about if this is their love ‘language’ while others won’t even notice until they are no longer done for them. Service in the home is daily so needs not only to be modeled daily but taught daily.
Little acts of service can go a long way.
Know your spouse has an early morning, set the coffee pot to be ready when he or she need to leave.
Someone in the house going on a road trip, leave toll money and snacks in the car as a surprise for them to find. Then, take the car and fill it up with gas or wash it after it returns.
I am sure we can all come up with more creative ways acts of service can be performed in the home. (Please share in the comments below.)
Remember to be generous with acts of service but also generous with appreciation for when those acts are done for you.
My father went in the military. He wanted to serve the country and I was grateful for his service. So whenever I see vets now, I thank them for their service. Some gave the ultimate price with their life so we can have our freedoms. Acts of service especially performed by military and first responders need to be appreciated.
There is a movement called random acts of kindness but isn’t that what acts of service is all about. Serving your neighbors by bringing up their trash bins or mail, feeding the homeless, giving away toys and clothes. The list can go on and on. Serve with kindness and keep looking for ways to do more.
The point is to get out of selfish mode and serve another.
Be creative with doling out love in all five ‘languages’. They really do help us get out of our own selfishness and love others how they would appreciate being loved. That is key.
This quote by Elizabeth Elliot should remind us to serve well: “The fact that I am a woman does not make me a different kind of Christian but the fact that I am a Christian does make me a different kind of woman.” Regardless if you are a woman or a man, if you call yourself a Christian you should be liberally loving others with acts of service and thanking others whenever they perform one for you even if it is just pouring you some fresh water.
“…serve one another in love…” Galatians 5.13
Of all the love ‘languages’, acts of service truly helps others see us…
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