Tag Archives: service

The Grass is Always Greener—or is It? (Guest Post)

The Grass is Always Greener—or is It?

By Steph Beth Nickel

I had an epiphany recently.

I would have said, by and large, I was content—happy even. But then I took a closer look at my dreams and aspirations.

"The grass isn't always greener."

Work Life

I serve as church administrator. The hours are good. I have every Friday off. I enjoy interacting with the other staff members and those who call or pop into the office.

But part of me would enjoy earning enough money from writing that I wouldn’t need to work outside the home. Odd … because I’m an extrovert.

Ministry Life

I am involved with the Awana program at church. I love the kids and enjoy sharing the truths of Scripture with them.

But I would like to help develop a more active ladies’ ministry. Plus, I’d love to have the opportunity to once again speak to ladies’ groups at other churches and at workshops, seminars, and conferences. Years ago I spoke fairly regularly.

Writing Life

Most of my writing opportunities are in the area of nonfiction. And I’m honoured to be a contributor to HopeStreamRadio and to be working on a follow-up to Paralympian Deb Willows’s memoir, Living Beyond My Circumstances.

But I have tried my hand at fiction and have gotten some great comments. The fact that I love to read novels is likely why I would like to write short stories, if not full-length fiction. Plus, I have an idea for a series I’d love to develop.

Spiritual Life

Having dreams and aspirations isn’t a bad thing, but it can get in the way of obeying Colossians 3:23, which says, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men” (ESV).

Whatever you do …

So whether I’m creating the bulletin, cleaning toilets (as co-custodian with my hubby, I do that too), or hitting the best-seller list (not really a dream of mine, but you get the picture), I ought to be doing it for God’s glory. [Tweet this: Do each task in a way that honours God.]

While both women’s and children’s ministry are important, for now, I’m involved with children. Not only should I do it “for the Lord,” I must remember that I can be instrumental in pointing boys and girls to Jesus and that’s an incredible privilege (Matthew 19:14).

I have a number of writing and editing projects on the go. In order to fulfill these responsibilities, I must buckle down and focus. I must also, more regularly, give thanks for these opportunities. I have this moment; the next isn’t guaranteed. If I am to write fiction, I will—someday.

How about you? Do you consider the different aspects of your life and wish they were different?

Just remember … the grass isn’t always greener [tweet this].

As believers in Jesus, may we commit Colossians 3:23 to memory and seek to live it out.


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Steph Beth Nickel

Steph Beth Nickel
(Photo by Stephen G. Woo Photography)

Stephanie (Steph Beth) Nickel is an award-winning co-author, a freelance editor and writer, a labour doula, and a former personal trainer. She also loves to speak, teach, and take slice-of-life photos. She would love to connect with you on Facebook or Twitter, on her website or blog.

Opportunity and Adventure

As for Philip, an angel of the Lord said to him, “Go south down the desert road that runs from Jerusalem to Gaza.”
Acts 8:26, NLT*

The Book of Acts reads like a series of adventures. Here, Philip had been preaching in Samaria (Acts 8:5-25). Many people had come to know the Lord, so Peter and John came from Jerusalem to see what was happening. Their involvement continued God’s work, and that seems to be the end of Philip’s role there, although looking on, we could assume there was plenty more for him to do.

Instead, the angel gave him a new assignment. Philip obeyed, and found a new opportunity prepared by God.

It’s not easy to be redirected when we’re in the middle of something, especially in ministry or service. Our focus is engaged. We want to finish the task, whatever it is.

Personally, I also want a bit of down time before taking on the next thing. A chance to relax, to feel “off duty”. And the next thing doesn’t feel like an adventure – more like the next round of responsibility. (Except for beginning to write a new novel. That energizes me.)

What if we could be open to see each new thing from God as an adventure? An opportunity to watch Him work in and through us? What might He do with enthusiastic workers instead of weary ones?

God our Shepherd and our Leader, You are always at work, and Your plans are always good. Forgive us for allowing ourselves to grow weary in Your service and for losing the wonder of the privilege of serving You. Please give us open eyes, eager hearts, and a willingness to work for Your Kingdom.

A song that refreshes my perspective is Steven Curtis Chapman’s “Great Adventure.”

*New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Service and Offering

But I will rejoice even if I lose my life, pouring it out like a liquid offering to God, just like your faithful service is an offering to God. And I want all of you to share that joy.
Philippians 2:17, NLT* (emphasis added)

Our “service” isn’t just what we do in church, or our volunteer activities. It’s also how we care for and interact with others on a daily basis. Do we make eye contact with the sales clerk, show courtesy in driving, remember to say thank you?

Service: not serving self but being mindful of God in our behaviour, attitudes and choices.

Offering: More than the rote giving of funds on a Sunday morning. It’s yielding our whole selves to His will, holding nothing back, in the example of Jesus Himself (Phil. 2:5-11).

Maybe that sounds dramatic. Over the top. Too hard for us. But break it down to the small choices in each day: Will I choose God’s way or my way? Grudgingly, or with a willing heart?

Mighty and loving God, You ask us to give our all. You’re worthy of our all, and we owe You our lives. You know how tightly we hold on, though. Help us surrender ourselves to You daily – moment by moment, even – because You are a good God. You love us. And You’ve paid our ransom.

I’ve loved Third Day’s song, “Offering“, since I first heard it. May it be our prayer today.

*New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

The Job is a Gift

The LORD said to Aaron, “…I myself have selected your fellow Levites from among the Israelites as a gift to you, dedicated to the LORD to do the work at the tent of meeting. But only you and your sons may serve as priests in connection with everything at the altar and inside the curtain. I am giving you the service of the priesthood as a gift. Anyone else who comes near the sanctuary is to be put to death.”
Numbers 18:1a, 6-7, NIV*

God gave specific, high-visibility roles of service to the priesthood (Aaron and his sons) and to the wider group of the Levites as a whole. Like other places in Scripture, God chose the people and assigned the tasks.

From our perspective, the person in a key ministry position or crucial role is someone important—special. Our star-struck culture inclines us to admire him or her because of the position, not because of character or deeds.

Today’s verse reminds us of God’s view: the high-profile role is a gift to the person, for God’s greater plan to bless the people that individual will serve. The support roles are also gifts, and just as significant. There’s no room for “He likes you more than He likes me” or the other way around.

With the “great” roles comes great responsibility, and it’s better to pray “Lord, use me where You will,” than to set the sights of personal ambition on a high-profile position. Are we here to please ourselves, or to give honour to our Creator?

He puts some of us in the lead roles, and more of us in the supporting ones. But in God’s overall view, each part matters. Our responsibility is to be consecrated, ready, and obedient to His call.

Father, thank You for those You empower for leadership roles, and for those You empower for behind-the-scenes roles. Thank You that no job is too big for the person You choose or too small for a person to need Your strength and leading. Help us remember it’s not about us—it’s for Your glory. Give us ears to hear and hearts to obey. Let us neither envy another’s service nor begrudge our own.

Casting Crowns‘ “In Me” is a good reminder of Who we’re serving and where the power comes from.

*New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.