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Posts Tagged ‘service’

The one thing we seemed to master as children is the concept and value of possessing. From kindergarten on we have had to learn the lesson of “sharing” with others. This world, especially this culture, teaches us to think individualistically. We can take on the attitude of pride and entitlement with our valued “things.”

We hold onto things, and sometimes guard them with our lives. Out of survival, we can hoard our possessions wondering if we will need them.

Our culture teaches us to give out of the abundance of what we have. Generousity is measured not by the whole pie, but the slice that is given. We give because we “have it.” Most often what we term as “giving” is associated with money.

What about giving out of what you don’t have?

Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny.

The widow in this story gave all she had without expecting anything in return. She submitted all she had with a profound sense of freedom from possession. This woman shows us a great example of how she lived her life not saying “mine”, but “yours.

Maybe she did worry about provision. Maybe it took her a long time to release those coins. But she did. This brave woman, already labeled “poor” gave all of what she did not have. She was not safe. She had no security net to fall back on. She gave out of risk and poverty. It means everything.

Do you give in a way that stretches you?

Giving is not just financially related. Giving out of what we don’t have can look like our time, emotion, weakness, struggles, and energy. Giving can look like being present when you are too tired. Giving can look like just believing when your frustrations of waiting are high.

Jesus introduced a principle of love in the gospels. He says, If you love only those people who love you, will God reward you for that? Even tax collectorslove their friends. If you greet only your friends, what’s so great about that? Don’t even unbelievers do that?”

I think the same principle applies with giving. If we give what we have, what risk is that for us? Anyone can give out of their abundance. Be different. Give what is stretching. Give what you don’t have, and even what you may not want to.

Giving out of what we don’t have enables faith. Jesus attributed faith to the widow who gave her last two coins.

For you, what does it mean to give what you don’t have?

 

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Take a minute and picture in your mind something that you would love. I am not talking about a chocolate shake or steak dinner. I am talking about life dreams and desires. What is your biggest desire? What is your biggest dream and passion? Picture what it looks like in detail. Now picture what it would be like to be in that place right now. What does it feel like?

If someone offered you to take hold of your dream right now, would you? If someone presented you with your dream, with all of its bells and whistles, would you take it?

The answer seems like a no brainer right? Why wouldn’t you take it?

Jesus was given this proposition from Satan up on a high mountain. Satan laid out all of the kingdoms and their splendor before him. With big eyes, Satan extended his arm and said, “all of this I can give you, if you will bow down and worship me.

Why are short cuts so tempting?

Shorts speak to the place in us that does not want to wait. If everything we dreamed of was available then we could avoid the hard of doing the work needed to get there. Short cuts cater to our mentality of instant gratification. We would much rather have things RIGHT NOW!

My temptation is to take the short cut that fulfills my dream of speaking to lots of people one day. I know in my heart that responsibility is no small thing. My heart is learning how to lead well and hold tight to humility – God is teaching me how to wait well. Choosing to take hold of my dream right now would enable a huge crash and burn effect. You can’t build anything well without the right tools to do it with. I know I would fail miserably if I had the dream the eyes of my heart sees.

I am working on my response to surrender. Jesus chose the cross. The proposition that was given to him bypassed the cross. This choice was less painful, or would it have been? Jesus chose the cross and all of its pain. He chose to surrender to what the father wanted. I am so glad that Jesus did not take hold of this short cut offered to him. What would life be like had he not?

Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.

What short cut is being presented to you right now?

What would it look like for you to choose the cross?

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Servanthood is one of those words that can ignite the groans of “oooh!” in unison. Service has been given a bad name in our culture. We associate service with something that will require forced effort. There is that fear that voicing a desire to serve will land you right into the volunteer position in the nursery. (No offense to those of you who are in the nursery and love it!) We can assoicate service with doing those things others do not not want to do.

In the past, we have assoicated service with those who are lower class; one labeled as servant. We have even lumped service into catagories of people like missionaries, church staff, volunteers, and those who are in service jobs.

What does service have to do with relationships and living a life following after Christ?

Jesus lived a life of service. His service was redefining life for everyone around him, all the time. Jesus was in the business of taking our concepts and blowing them right out of the water. Sometimes service looked more like a conscious effort for Jesus, but his whole life was lived out of service. Jesus made sure everyone he came into contact with walked away feeling more valued and loved. He walked and talked truth in a way that redefined life as everyone knew it.

One of the greatest examples of service came from the night Jesus washed his disciples feet. While there were conversations going on about popularity and requests for the greatest seat, Jesus silently grabbed a basin and towel. He stripped down to next to nothing and knelt down before his friends. One by one he washed the mud and grime from their feet. Silence must have hushed over the crowd in a hurry. What was their most popular master doing?

That night, Jesus redefined importance and value in a tangible way. That night, in a quiet upper room, the savior of the world, displayed one more way of laying down life for others. Jesus displayed humility in a way that no one would ever forget.

Service is about the heart. Service is what happens as the overflow of your heart from knowing who he is. You can’t help but spend yourself when getting to know who he is.

For Jesus, servanthood was never contingent upon who the other person was. Service is not only about giving to those you know who won’t hurt you, or even to those who can give back. Jesus washed Judas’ feet minutes before he walked out on him. Jesus washed all of his disciples feet even though hours later they would all desert him.

Jesus served because he knew who’s he was. That never changed. Service comes from knowing our identity is in him. Service is about giving grace, unconditional love, and risk.

John Maxwell states, “the insecure are into titles. The secure are into towels. Service has nothing to prove, nothing to lose, and nothing to hide.”

Service is the overflow of your heart as God gets a hold of you. It no longer looks like conscious effort, but life lived out. It can look like encouragement, listening, caring, sacrificing, loving, grace, forgiveness, and just giving you.

How will you serve today?

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