Mother Teresa captivated a watching world because of the way she served. She didn’t just casually talk about serving God; she lived her faith in a dramatic, yet humble fashion that made people stop and take notice. When we think of people “living their faith”, we expect it to include passionate service to others. It’s hard to imagine someone “all in” for God and not having that joy overflow in this way.

Serving is important, but serving for unclear or misguided purposes can lessen our impact, and perpetuate some less than ideal patterns. Here’s a key question: What’s our motivation to serve? Is it because of our parents’ example? Is it to get noticed by others? Does guilt or peer pressure underlie our service? Or do we serve mainly because it makes us feel good? It’s important to take time to reflect and figure out our personal motivation.

I’ll suggest that service with the most eternal impact is that which begins “INSIDE-OUT” (see When we give our lives to God, He changes our hearts over time to become more like Him, and that motivates us to serve others to give Him the glory – to make Him look good to a watching world. We’re not driven to serve others by guilt, peer pressure, or the rush we get from doing our part. It’s really not about us. The motivation is heaven-focused. It’s all about God.

In Galatians 5:13b-14, the Apostle Paul tells us to . . . serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”  Service with God-focused motivation is humble, yet powerful. It can change the lives and “forevers” of those we are serving and those who are watching us live our faith.

How do you go about finding your best ways to serve? First figure out how God has wired you. Discover your spiritual gifts (free online survey: and your passions (the God-honoring causes that stir you). When we combine our top gifts with our passions, we find the unique ways to have the most impact. For example, I have gifts of administration, leadership and teaching. My passion is to see organizations and groups structured and aligned to maximize the life change of those it serves. Currently, I use those combinations as the Executive Director and a life group leader at our church, and to serve a few other organizations in our community and the Midwest. In most of these serving opportunities I am able to see lives change in significant ways. And I am (very imperfectly) motivated to serve in order to give God the credit. It’s not about me. It’s all about Him.

Service to others that is motivated by God’s purposes, and aligned with how He has wired us is a powerful way we can live our faith and reveal God to a watching world.

Image credit: