Sunday, April 7, 2013
The Purpose Driven Life - Day 33
Day 33 - How Real Servants Act
If we remember that God SHAPED us for service and not for self-centeredness, then it is easy to understand that we must not concern ourselves with prestige or possessions. We must focus our selves on how Jesus conducted Himself, and above all of His acts, His primary role was as a servant to the people. This is the model we must strive to follow.
Of course, the way society today is modeled, many who strive to be a servant are looked down upon, they are mocked and belittled. We must not take note of this, but remember that God places us where we are needed - He gives us tasks, and no task is too small.
Real servants make themselves available for service. They do not schedule their lives around grand gestures. They are available when ever God calls them to serve. Where there is a need, there should also be a selfless person to meet that need. Regardless of whatever else is happening in their life. God comes first and when we serve others - we are serving the Lord. Anything that you would put ahead of Him is your priority - and will be noted by Him.
Needs aren't always scheduled. "I will go volunteering every Thursday between 2-4." The Bible commands: "Whenever we have the opportunity, we have to do what is good for everyone, especially for the family of believers." When a need presents itself - even if you are not 'on duty' God expects - commands, that the need is met by you! Whether it is stacking chairs after a meeting. Clearing the table from empty coffee cups and papers after a meeting. Helping someone up who has fallen. Helping an elderly person across the street. Helping a mother with her stroller as she goes up/down the stairs. Even something as simple as holding the door for someone. Each of these are acts of kindness - acts of service.
Remember that Jesus specialized in menial tasks - the tasks nobody else wanted to do. The tasks most felt were beneath them: washing feet, helping children, fixing breakfast, serving lepers. A servant's heart is shown through the little tasks that others don't think of doing.
Service takes commitment. When you volunteer your services in a ministry, the people you are serving are depending on you. As are the other members of the ministry and Church. Sadly, a lot of Christians will become so caught up in their personal lives that they will not only not show up - but often times will even neglect to call and give advance notice of their absence. A ministry is only as strong as the faithful commitment of it's members. No matter the size of the commitment, once a commitment has been made - it should always be kept! In this world, often times, our honor is all that we have to offer. This is no small thing. If your faithfulness ever becomes in question - what really do you have left? Your word is your honor! If you are not prepared to be faithful to your commitments, don't make them!
I realize that I am stating the obvious here - but I feel compelled to do so; faithfulness of commitment is not only true in the Church, but also in life and all of your relationships.
We spoke about the importance of humility a few chapters ago. This is a vital trait in service as well. Sadly, many who serve in ministry spend the majority of their time jockeying for position. Please, please heed this warning; if you ever find yourself trying to top your fellowship - trying to catch the eye of praise, trying to outdo the others in your group - know that you are there for the wrong reason and need to check yourself immediately. Jesus hated this behavior and warned: "When you do good deeds, don't try to show off. If you do, you won't get a reward from your Father in heaven." And Paul said: "If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ."
Today I have two favorite quotes from this chapter. I normally try not to do more than one - but they both touched me, I just had to share them with you.
* Notoriety means nothing to real servants because they know the difference between prominence and significance.
* "Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as you ever can." - John Wesley
"If you give even a cup of cold water to one of the least of My [Jesus] followers, you will surely be rewarded." - Matthew 10:42 (NLT)
For those of you who may not yet have heard, Pastor Rick and his wife Kay, and their family are going through extreme heartache at this time. It was announced yesterday that their youngest son Matthew (27), who battled life-long mental illness and depression, took his own life on Friday.
If you are so moved, please lift this family in your prayers.