People don’t believe me when I talk about how introverted I am. Truth be told, I would just as soon hole up alone with a good book or game on most evenings. I genuinely enjoy seven-hour car rides by myself.
That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy socializing. I absolutely do. But when I am with someone, I feel responsible for their entertainment as well as my own. So if I’m in a safe situation — meaning I safely assume my pleasure and my companion’s are intertwined — I can just be myself and enjoy. It’s harder with strangers, or with people who don’t share my interests.
The options are obvious: (a) be by myself and do what I want; (b) be with others who will encourage me to do what I want; (c) be with others and do what I want, regardless of how they feel about it; or (d) be with others and consider their feelings and preferences.
Which of those sounds more like work? And which of those sounds more like what Jesus wants from us? If you answered “d” to both questions, congratulations. You have discovered the secret to service.
Service is not about giving whatever you feel like giving. Service is about considering others in the way of their choosing, not yours. It moved Jesus to give His life for us (Matthew 20:28), and the fear of Christ moves us to be subject to one another (Ephesians 5:21) while we serve Him.
The last thing a Christian should want to do is form an impenetrable bubble and pursue his or her own interests inside of it, unbothered by the rest of the world. Strange, then, that so many Christians seem incapable of doing anything else.