Emptying ourselves is the way to serving fully

Real training for service asks for a hard and often painful process of self-emptying. The main problem of service is to be the way without being ‘in the way.’ And if there are any tools, techniques and skills to be learned they are primarily to plow the field, to cut the weeds, and to clip the branches, that is, to take away the obstacles for real growth and development. Training for service is not a training to become rich but voluntarily poor; not to fulfill ourselves but to empty ourselves; not to conquer God but to surrender to his saving power.

All of this is very hard to accept in our contemporary world, which tells us about the importance of power and influence. But it is important that in this world there remain a few voices crying out that if there is anything to boast of, we should boast of our weakness. Our fulfillment is in offering emptiness, our usefulness in becoming useless our power in becoming powerless.

from Reaching Out by Henri Nouwen

Published by Todd Nelson

I'm one of the pastors at First United Methodist Church in Lexington, Kentucky where I've served for the past thirteen years. The sub-title of this blog is "Grace is no accident" which happens to be the defining reality of my life. God's grace (gift) is the reason we have breath in our lungs and hope in our hearts.

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