You said that whatever we do for the least of these, we do for you. And yet, as I open my heart and put my hand to the plow to cultivate this small corner of your creation, I become aware of a tangle of motivations behind my service. Part of me wants to try to earn your approval, even though it is boundless and given freely. Part of me just wants to be liked. Part of me wants to do this myself, Lord, and to take the glory that rightly belongs to you.


Lord, I do not want to do good things for the wrong reasons, but if I wait for my heart to be completely right before you, I may never serve. Holy Spirit, guide me through this valley of darkness. 


Jesus, I cannot will my heart into rightness. Only your perfect love can do that. Instead, I am forced to trust your grace. My poor motivations are paid for in your death. And so today, as I seek to join you in the work you are already doing, I remind myself of things that do not always ring true in the chambers of my heart: I love because I have been loved. I serve because I have been served. Father, saturate me with your grace, because the parts of me that are weak and selfish are lurking at the door.


Triune God, assist me in my service. Work alongside me, and when I forget the reason I do what I do, draw me back to your heart. Without you, I can do absolutely nothing. Without you, I will always serve myself, rather than others. Receive these works, God, and receive whatever affection my poor heart can offer, for you are its rightful owner, even when it forgets.




Tyler Russell lives in Central Pennsylvania with his wife, Cat, and their 5 children where he teaches high school English and explores the connection between faith and art. His writing has appeared in Apiary Magazine and at RelevantMagazine.com, among others. He and his wife have also recently become active in the fight against human trafficking.