When There is Nothing in it for You

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I was reading through a magazine last night and saw an advice column about ditching an unwanted friend.  The advice covered several scenarios.  If it’s an old high school friend, simply ignore them, but “continue to send the occasional holiday card.  You want to create distance while remaining cordial.” 

If it’s the mother of your child’s friend you wish to avoid, “have an errand to run if she suggests you stay for coffee during a play date,” and continues that if you keep blowing her off, “she should get the hint.”

First, let me say that I realize we aren’t meant to maintain meaningful relationships with everyone we come into contact with.  I get that.

But, I’ve been seeing more and more the “all about me” mentality.  We live in a world that preaches self-centeredness on every corner, sometimes even in churches .

If you’re not blissfully happy in your marriage, get out because you deserve to have exactly what you want out of life.

If there is a person in your life with nothing tangible to offer you, cut them off.

I’ve even seen it in the blogging world, recommendations that you leave comments for and attempt to befriend strategic bloggers with something to offer you.

This advice goes directly against everything that God calls of us.

God calls us to love one another with our actions, even when there’s nothing in it for us. Jesus himself came to serve and not to be served (Matthew 20:28).

I was the recipient this week of such loving service.  I had posted on Facebook, asking for advice on obtaining moving boxes.  My friend, Kathy, said that she could get some at her job.  After church on Sunday, she approached me saying she would get some that night.  I expected her to call me to arrange for me to pick them up.  Instead the next morning, she pulled up in my driveway on her way home from her third shift job, with 47 boxes that she’d saved from recycling at work.  Then I found out that she rode with someone else.  So, not only did she save all the boxes, load them up in her car and deliver them to me at my house…she also had to transfer them from the car of her friend to her car.  All of this after putting in a long day of work, and for someone who is really no one special to her.  There was nothing in it for her.

Worldly advice (and even Christian advice), would have told her, “You’ve worked hard and she can get her own boxes.” 

Have you ever heard the phrase, “go the extra mile”?  Jesus compels us to go the extra mile in Matthew 5:41, and we are told countless times throughout the new testament to deny ourselves and to live for and serve others. 

Lord, thank you for placing a few precious people in my life who are willing to go the extra mile and serve with nothing in return.  I pray that you will give me a desire and motivation to be that person who seeks to serve others, even when it doesn’t make sense and there is nothing in it for me.


  1. Brooke says

    My dear friend, sister, and cousin…..what a beautiful messafe this morning! I read it while eating breakfast! I/ heading out to start my day of running errands and grocery shopping! I pray that I c the needs of others and respond to them! Thank u for the message!:)……and it sounds like you have great friends there that think you are pretty special!:) have a blessed day!:) hugs!

  2. says

    I thank God for those few friends in my life as well and pray that I am that person to others. It’s hard, but worth it for the kingdom.

  3. says

    So true, Crystal! It frustrates and saddens me to see such selfish motivations in so many people. Thanks for the encouragement to keep our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.

  4. says

    Beautiful advice my friend! Jesus taught complete service to others…not only in his words but also in his actions. May we strive to follow his example. Thank you for the great reminder!

    I missed you on Wednesday, so I just wanted to check and see how you were doing. I hope all is well!

    • Crystal says

      Alicia, I’m losing steam and trying to figure out how to get my motivation back…I haven’t fallen completely off the wagon, but definitely lacking the excitement I had at first. Thanks for checking on me :)

  5. says

    Agreed. I recently read something about getting out of relationships that no longer serve you…and I had trouble thinking of any relationship that didn’t serve me. Granted, I don’t chit chat with every old friend on facebook, but I enjoy being able to see photos of their kids and have found some friendships grow that otherwise would not have been someone I would have kept in touch. I know some people are in abusive relationships and certainly, those are not serving and should be discontinued, as well as relationships that pull you from priorities such as family…but I agree that friendships and people and communication are usually fulfilling and knowing people and loving people will usually only enrich your life and theirs as well.

    • Crystal says

      Absolutely, Lisa! And, even if it isn’t “useful” for us, sometimes we are meant to serve others with no thought of ourselves. I think that’s something mostly lacking in our culture…really trying to break that mindset in myself.

  6. says

    Wow; this is so good! Sometimes I am wary of going the extra mile b/c I am scared that people may be taking advantage of me. This is a great reminder that sometimes, we do it not for others, but b/c God wants us to. Blessings! Lauren, lholmes79.wordpress.com

    • Crystal says

      Lauren, I feel this same way. It makes me so frustrated to be taken advantate of because it feels like the other person is being rewarded for bad behavior…but then I read Christ’s words in that passage, and He pretty much tells us to allow ourselves to be taken advantage of. Very convicting.

  7. says

    I am always so humbled when I am served this way. Recently a mom from my daughter/husband’s school brought me 2 bags of food while I was having a very hard pregnancy. Our relationship was only a little past acquaintance, so I was blown away but this action.
    The great thing about this is how it spurs us to turn around and be selfless ourselves. Especially when we do it without the other knowing.

  8. says

    Very good point! I recently watched my best friend go through a divorce, and it was all avoidable if she could have gotten the big picture about this very point.

  9. says

    A wonderfully convicting post!

    I believe it is through giving that we receive so much. We have lived by a phrase for years, and our girls can’t remember a time when they didn’t know it: Do the right thing, even when it is not easy, comfortable or convenient.

    Often times that means giving and helping when it doesn’t fit nice and neatly within our lives.

    I have also learned that we need to be careful about judging who is “of use” to us. We just never know how God is going to use us or others.

  10. says

    You are so right! So much truth here. When we live for Christ — it means we serve and love and give. I am guilty of some of the un-Christ-like things you mentioned. Thank you for the conviction here.

    Blessings to you…

  11. says

    I get in a state of mind where I think I do too much for others, when in reality, I'm pretty blessed by all that others, especially my husband, do for me. I do need to be more giving of my time and patience to others.

  12. says

    I get in a state of mind where I think I do too much for others, when in reality, I'm pretty blessed by all that others, especially my husband, do for me. I do need to be more giving of my time and patience to others.

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