Portion Control – When Serving Becomes Overload and Joy is Forgotten

It never fails, every time I go to a buffet; I fill my plate so full that my mashed potatoes and chocolate cake become unlikely bedfellows. My eyes seem to grow disproportionately in size to my stomach and I gather up all the goodies my plate will hold. In haste, I get back to my seat to devour my feast only to realize there were too many tastes and textures to differentiate any of them. Overstuffed and ready for a nap, I glance regrettably at the morsels of food left on my plate. I can’t move nor can I take one more bite. I scoff at the prospect of eating swearing to never engage in that activity again. It seems “just say no” is a slogan with many applications. The simple idea of portion control would solve my predicament of wondering if I should walk it off or sleep it off.

As I sit there deciding between walking and sleeping, my thoughts circled around other overfilled plates in my life. I am not sure about you, but my ministry plate is getting too heavy to carry back to the table. There are so many ministries and activities to make you feel unspiritual if you do not participate in that you end up participating in all. Yet, I have to ask myself if overfilling this plate is causing me to become more like Christ or less like Christ? Am I displaying a mind like Christ when my stomach turns as I have to get to one more meeting or make one more meal or teach one more class? I am not so haughty to think the church would fall apart at the seams if not for my involvement….or am I?

There comes a time when one realizes that being over loaded on tasks does not make you more spiritual. The amount of ministries you involve yourself in does not directly correlate to the amount of love you have for Jesus. The Bible teaches us that our love for Jesus is displayed by obedience to His Word. Yes, we are to serve in our local church to demonstrate Christ’s love to the outside world and to our brothers and sisters in Christ. Yet, let’s be reminded of portion control. To serve Christ, we need to perform our ministries as an act of worship to Him. When we get so bogged down that we resent our church, the people who don’t serve, the people who do serve, the lack of funds, the lack of time, or what have you, our actions become selfish and not sacrifice. The tendency is to take on one more thing because we feel no one else is willing. So, we walk up to the alter of ministry with great pride and martyr ourselves in the name of ourselves. Heavy laden and weary, convinced the church will fall at our feet, we say “yes” one more time to the call of service. How does that glorify God? It does not. In fact, our deceitful hearts tell us we do this for our king when in fact we do it for ourselves. The meaning of service is lost and Christ is no longer the center. Have we forgotten why we serve or better yet Who we serve?

I have reconciled that the church does not need me. In fact, God doesn’t need my money, my time or my sweat and tears. The sooner I realize God’s Will is not dependent on my actions the sooner my service will glorify God. Let’s exercise portion control and thoughtfully with love and a mind like Christ, serve our God gratefully and willfully. Also, allow the blessing of service to fall on another’s shoulders. Challenge a less involved person to serve by encouragement and mentoring. Then the body of Christ will finally have all the limbs required for true service.

Copyright © Richele McFarlin, Moms of Faith, All Rights Reserved


  1. Debbie on August 17, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    What a great, timely, and articulate post! Serving in a church can quickly become serving PEOPLE and their attitudes. Keeping our focus on God’s calling on our life – who we are and where we are and where He wants us: THAT should be our goal. Great encouragement, Richele!

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