Have you ever wondered why you describe yourself as “feeling blue” when you are sad or in a melancholy state? “Feeling blue” is a naval term coined by the deepwater sailing ships of old. When a ship lost the captain during its voyage, it was customary for her to return to port with a band of blue painted along her entire hull and flying blue flags.
We all feel blue from time-to-time. It is a normal, healthy emotion and certainly appropriate during times of grief and loss. However, feeling blue for long periods of time is not healthy and should be addressed. Such was the case of a woman I once heard of who, seeking counseling for the depression she was experiencing, called her church in hopes of scheduling an appointment with the pastor.
Unfortunately his calendar was full and there was no way for him to see her for at least two weeks. She did not think she could wait that long. “I understand,” he said. “But can you do just one thing for me”? “I suppose so” said the woman. “Go bake some cookies and then give them away”.
Weeks had passed when he finally saw her again and he asked, “What happened? Why haven’t you come in for counseling? You said you were struggling with depression.” “Oh”, she said, “I’m over that now. Ever since I started baking cookies and giving them away I’ve felt fine!”
I love that story! The woman regained her happiness by tapping into one of the greatest truths and promises of Jesus, the Servant King who, the night before He was crucified, took a towel, knelt and washed the feet of His disciples giving them and us a tremendous example to follow.
He did not talk about the need to serve one another. He demonstrated it by doing a job reserved for slaves. His disciples were aghast, embarrassed and amazed by His actions until He explained He had given them a model to follow in serving others. When they finally understood Jesus then went on to say, “If you know these things, blessed (happy) are you if you do them”! Our Heavenly Father is delighted with us when we demonstrate our knowledge of Him through acts of lovingkindness. ( John 13:1-17 & Jeremiah 9: 23-24)
He equips us to demonstrate that love with the spiritual gifts He gives to us at the moment we give our heart to Christ. One of these spiritual gifts is the gift of service and you can spot it a mile away. It shows up in those precious brothers and sisters in Christ who, without anyone ever asking, stay until the last chair is stacked, separate the trash for recycling, are leaders on the mission team and are the people who organize and run the local food bank. Bless their hearts!!
But not everyone has the gift of service. For example, I have the gift of gab. I actually enjoy doing what most people fear more than death by fire; getting up in front of a group of people and giving a speech! “I love to tell the story”, literally!
However, though I do not have the gift of service, I am not excused from being a servant and demonstrating the love of God to others. When I step back from that heart attitude of servant hood and begin self-serving, I quickly lose my joy and begin feeling blue.
If you are feeling blue this spring, go do something for someone else. Making a batch of cookies and giving them away might be a good place to start!