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Smiling, Happy Faces, Filling a Void, Accomplishing Nothing

Love (Divine) Motivation Servanthood

Source: N/A

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2024-03-22

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 13:1 ; 1 Corinthians 16:14

Author: Illustration Exchange


If you’ve ever been to a Costco to shop, you know that you cannot leave the store without showing your receipt to an exit attendant who will dutifully match your receipt against the items in your cart to be sure you haven’t “forgotten” to pay for anything.

Well, a recent trip to the retail giant produced quite a Wait. What?! moment as we were exiting the store with our full-to-overflowing shopping haul.

The friendly, smiling exit attendant asked for our receipt, and we promptly produced it. She scanned the receipt, then our cart, then the receipt again. She then humbly apologized that it was taking so long, informing us that she just needed to find the rib roast (we know — a BIG extravagance!) we had just paid for. After another moment, she said, again with a big, bright smile, “Ahhh, there it is! Have a nice day.”

Then came the, Wait. What?! moment.

She was supposed to be looking first at our cart, then comparing the items in our cart to what was on our receipt, not the reverse, looking at the items on our receipt to see if they were in our cart. She had gotten the proverbial cart before the horse, or in this case, the receipt before the cart!

Clearly, this bubbly, smiling attendant didn’t quite grasp the concept of the job she had been engaged to perform. We can just hear the convo in the break room: “I don’t understand why everyone is so worried about shoplifting. I’ve been working here for a month now and I’ve never found anything even remotely suspicious.” Well, no wonder … you’re so kind, so polite, so well intentioned, but you’re not doing your job correctly!

She was motivated to find items we’d paid for, but might have forgotten, while the management wanted her to be motivated to find the items we might be taking that we hadn’t yet paid for.

Sadly, she was a smiling, happy face, filling a void, accomplishing nothing.


As believers, we engage in acts of service and devotion every day — in our homes, our churches, our places of employment, our communities, with nothing but the best attitudes and the best intentions. Yet we are often no more effective in our acts of service and devotion than that confused Costco attendant was at performing her one, very simple task.

Why? Because motivation matters!

Scripture is clear, anything not done in love, is useless.

When religiosity replaces relationship or rote actions replace agape [God's love], we become nothing more than smiling, happy faces, filling voids, accomplishing nothing.

Let everything you do be done in love [motivated and inspired by God’s love for us] (1 Corinthians 16:14, AMP).

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing (1 Corinthians 13:1-3, NIV):

It's a Wonderful Wife

Marriage Wives Servanthood

Source: Facebook post by Bill Young, retrieved 1/3/24

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2024-01-06

Scripture: Proverbs 31:10 ; Proverbs 31:12

Author: Bill Young (Facebook profile)


A recent Facebook post takes a new look at an old classic:

I realized something while watching "It's a Wonderful Life" recently. It was something I missed the first 3,317 or so times I watched it. That is, I think the hero of the story isn't George, it's Mary.

The movie starts off with Mary praying for God to be with George. Her prayer (and others) is the catalyst for the angel, Clarence, being sent to George. Mary is the one who sees the beauty of the old broken down house. "It's full of romance, that old place." George sees empty space; Mary sees a space that can be filled with a family's love.

That's why George kisses the broken banister knob in the end; he finally sees what Mary always saw in that house. Mary saw it on the day of their wedding. She was the one who transformed the house into "honeymoon suite." Of course, that happened after she had the idea to offer her $2000 honeymoon money to the people of the town during the bank run. When George is depressed by his friends moving onward and upward in the world and think he's a disappointment to his wife because of it, Mary makes it clear that she "didn't want to marry anybody else in town." Never complaining, she worked "day after day remaking the old Granville house into a home." This while having 4 children and running the USO.

Finally, Mary is the one who goes all over town to ask for help for her husband. Uncle Billy remarks, "Mary did it, George! Mary did it!" I had never noticed her expression before when Uncle Billy says this. She's in the background as he says it, and she mouths "No..." while she shakes her head and moves further into the background. It's an incredibly subtle but important feature of her character: do good for others, but let others receive the credit. She moves fully into the background so that everyone giving money to George can come front and center. This was all orchestrated by Mary but she fades into the background.

Now look at the picture below where Mary is again in the background. Note where she's positioned: over George's shoulder. The one watching over George all these years was Mary. She was as much a guardian angel to George as Clarence was.



The post continues ... 

In the end, George was a good man; even a great one. He was after all, "The richest man in town." But would he have accomplished all he did, and been the man he was without Mary? I think the answer is definitely not. And there are many such Marys in this world who quietly go about, offering their prayers, works, and sufferings; raising their children; praying for their husbands and making them 10x the men they would have been without them.

Most of their deeds won't be known this side of heaven. Until they're known, we, the Georges of this world, offer to you Marys our profound thank you. And we promise to keep trying to lasso the moon for you. You deserve nothing less.

"An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life" (Proverbs 31:10-12, ESV).

The Crew Behind the Counter

Community Servanthood Humility

Source: Excerpted from a Facebook post by Jess Wilson, Diary of a Mom, posted 11/24/23, retrieved 11/28/23

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2023-11-28

Scripture: Romans 12:4 ; Philippians 2:4

Author: Illustration Exchange


Jess Wislon, of Diary of Mom blog, observes:

I LOVE this picture of Julia Child filming French Chef back in 1963. There are 5 people - FIVE! - sitting on the floor of the set, crammed behind her kitchen island, hidden from the camera's view. One of the five is holding at the ready a pie tin, which will undoubtedly be magically transported into her hand momentarily. 

*Photo from WGBH TV, "The French Chef," which first aired February 11, 1963. 

She continues:

Heck, even Julia Child couldn’t cook like Julia Child. At least not alone. 


Our Christian experience is much like the 1960s set of Julia Child's TV kitchen. So much is going on behind the scenes to prop us up, support us, assist us. We were not meant to serve up the dish we call the Christian life alone!

In fact, the Lord calls us — nay, commands us! — to function in community ... "Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ" (Galatians 6:2, ESV).

Why? Because we are, in fact, one body. "For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another" (Romans 12:4-5, ESV).

Julia Childs didn't become the world's most reknown French chef in a vaccuum. 

It might have been Julia's hands the camera focused on, stirring the pot, whisking the batter, kneeding the dough, but behind her, all around her, beneath her, was a whole army of community helping her to be all she could be. 

We are no less called to be that supporting cast for one another. Sometimes, we'll walk beside each other. But just as often, we might find ourselves behind, or even beneath each other. In those moments, remember: "Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men" (Philippians 2:4-6, ESV).

In the Christian life, as the cameras are all focusing on you, don't forget to look around, behind, and beneath for all those who are supporting you, and give thanks that you are not called to live your life in a vaccum! 

And likewise, when you see all the focus on another, don't hesitate, even for a moment, to crawl behind the counter, to stoop down beneath another brother or sister in the Lord, to help them shine and be the very best they can be!

"Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken" (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, ESV).

"And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near" (Hebrews 10:24-25, ESV).

Blessed Life

Blessings/Blessedness Servanthood God's Power

Contributed By: Herry Herry | Date Posted: 2023-10-21

Scripture: John 15:5


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Silently Serving

Servanthood Sacrifice Courage

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2022-08-13

Scripture: Romans 10:4 ; 2 Timothy 4:2

Author: Illustration Exchange

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"Bee" Devoted to One Another in Brotherly Love

Church/Body of Christ Community Servanthood

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2022-08-13

Scripture: Romans 12:10 ; 1 Corinthians 12:26

Author: Unknown

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Prairie Schooners

Missions Compassion Servanthood

Contributed By: James Miller | Date Posted: 2018-10-06

Scripture: Matthew 25:29 ; Matthew 28:18

Author: James Miller

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Built to Sail

Discipleship Servanthood Great Commission

Contributed By: James Miller | Date Posted: 2018-09-22

Scripture: 1 Peter 4:10 ; Matthew 28:18

Author: James Miller

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Self-absorbed Church Health/Growth Servanthood

Contributed By: Neal Pollard | Date Posted: 2018-06-27

Scripture: Philippians 2:3

Author: Neal Pollard

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How To Get Things Done In Russia

Servanthood Control Motivation

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2018-04-16

Author: Illustration Exchange

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