The Five Love Languages: Acts of Service


This image of St. Francis is from a 16th-Century oil painting in the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia.

The Sunday talk was “Acts of Service” which is the fourth love language from the work of Dr. Gary Chapman in his book The Five Love Languages. Each week we look at a love language and how it fits with the commandment given to us by Jesus “to love one another.”

I am sharing a story about St. Francis of Assisi, who is known for making God’s love real in many different ways. He lived in Italy around 800 years ago. If you’ve ever seen a statue of a monk with birds and squirrels hanging around like they do for Disney princesses, you’ve probably seen a statue of Francis. He left his wealthy merchant family to live a simple life of nature, preaching, and good works. As you read this story look for ways that Francis practices these love languages.

Saint Francis of Assisi took a novice (monk in training) out for a day of preaching the gospel. As they left Assisi, they helped a farmer move his cart; down the road they talked with a merchant and listened to his problems; around noon they shared their meal with a hungry beggar; soon after lunch they prayed with a sick woman; on their way back, they helped a woman carry her heavy load.

When they returned to the monastery at dark, the novice commented that the day was gone and they hadn’t preached to anyone. “My son,” Francis responded, “we’ve been sharing the gospel all day long.”

Francis shared the gospel this way because this is how Jesus shared the Good News, through word and deed and time and gifts.

Jesus speaks of himself as one who comes not to be served but to serve. Jesus healed people. Jesus gave hungry people food, because he felt compassion. Jesus reached out to marginalized people however he also served those closest to him – remember how he washed his disciples’ feet.

If your love language is “Acts of Service,” everything you do is about the other person, not about you. It’s freely chosen and willingly performed. It imbues even the most ordinary task with a sense of the value of work and the sacredness of daily, ordinary things.

This quote from St. Teresa of Avila will speak loud and clear to one whose love language is “Acts of Service.”

“Christ has no body now on earth but yours,
no hands but yours,
no feet but yours,
Yours are the eyes through which to look out
Christ’s compassion to the world.
Yours are the feet with which he is to go about doing good;
Yours are the hand with which he is to bless now.”

To all of us no matter what your love language take this quote from Mother Teresa and apply it in your life “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”

This week, let’s pay attention to the ways we can bless and love others by serving and helping both those we may not know and those who are closest to us.

You are a blessing in my life,
Rev. Pat

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