CALLED TO SERVE: SERVING GOD BY SERVING OTHERS

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. (1 Peter 4:10)
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“Service! Anybody?”

“Where’s the service around here?”

“Hey, who’s in charge of service at this place?”

“The service is terrible.”

“I wouldn’t come back if someone paid me.”

“You call this service!

  “I don’t have all day.”

The world’s perspective on “service” is to be served. “Wait on me—now. Meet my expectations of how I want to be and deserve to be served.” Cashiers, waiters,     waitresses, clerks, aides, tellers, and many others can be categorized as “servers” who are, sometimes, looked down upon and treated as “less” in comparison to the ones being served or waited on. How many times have we been guilty of this? Have we spoken these words—with the expectation that we should be properly and     deservedly served?

In contrast to the world’s viewpoint, God’s perspective on “service” is to serve. We are not to be the ones waited upon, but the servants who serve. This is how we can “become great.”

26 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a   ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:26-28)

Our example is Jesus, who left His Father’s realm to live among us as a servant. He sacrificed His life in service to each one of us so that we might live in that heavenly realm one day. He is the King who is the Ruler over our lives—and, yet, Jesus says “the one who rules (should be) like the one who serves” and He declares Himself as one who serves:

25 Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. 26 But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. 27 For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.“ (Luke 22:25-27)

 Humility is not usually a trait associated with high achievement in our world today. Yet, we are called to be humble and serve. Such is the mark of “greatness” with God: “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. (Galatians 5:13)

The work we do in this life is really in service to Christ and, through Him, to each other-our brothers and sisters in the Lord and to those we want to bring into the Lord: 23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. (Colossians 3:23-24)

 Service? Anybody? We are the ones called to serve.

(Sharon G. Tate 11/25/18 blog ) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

 

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Seeking the Lord of Compassion: His Light to Dispel Our Blindness

 29 As Jesus and His disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed Him. 30 Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” 31 The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” 32 Jesus stopped and called them. “What do you want Me to do for you?” He asked.33 “Lord,” they answered, “we want our sight.” 34 Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed Him. (Matthew 20:29-34)

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In a recent eye exam, I was given the usual sight test to determine my visual acuity. After shielding my left eye with an eye patch, I was asked to read the letters on the screen. Straining to attempt to see something I could recognize, she enlarged the letters. Still straining to identify even one letter, I had to admit to her that I could not see anything clearly enough for identification. She, then, moved the patch to the right eye. I could see every line for 20/20 vision in my left eye. I don’t know what it’s like to be blind, but even the reduction of sight in one eye is concerning. It results in a new appreciation of the God-given gift of our eyes.

Having total loss of sight resulted in two blind men shouting to Jesus, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” They knew His lineage; they knew His power; they asked for His mercy. They boldly stated their request for sight, knowing He could give that to them. And Jesus responded with compassion, touching their eyes. There was no time lapse in healing. Sight was immediate!

The touch of the Savior. He is always within our sight. But can we see His presence in our lives? Are we aware of His power as the blind men were who could not see?

Blindness can be more than a physical impairment. It can be the absence of a caring heart toward others. It can be a severe lack of understanding, becoming blinded by untruth, false beliefs and teachings and opinions of men or women. Our sight is dimmed. The Light is gone, so we become the blind in a world that desperately needs the vision of the cross and the sight of the Savior—yet does not see.

Once the blind men had been given the gift of sight, they saw what they must do—and followed Jesus. It is what we must do to truly see the path in this life that leads us to an eternal home with the Lord.

The touch of the Savior. The compassion in His eyes as He looks at us. Will we see? Will we ask to see? Will we be healed from His touch, because we believe that His Light will dispel our blindness? Will we follow Him?

Look to the Lord and His strength;
    seek His face always. (I Chronicles 16:11)

(Sharon G. Tate blog 11/18/18)  teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

Our Example in Christ: Giving Sacrificially

 

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesuswho, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

(Philippians 2:5-8)

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When my son was in middle school, he was big enough to be a helper shoveling snow. Of course, being a kid, playing in the snow was what he would rather do. Yet, there were several days that he chose to go shovel–by himself. . .

My son and I started shoveling together at a friend’s home when the fatigue she experienced from cancer became overwhelming. It was a good opportunity to teach empathy, compassion and giving with no expectation of getting something in return, except the knowledge that we were doing this out of caring for someone else.

My friend was soon placed in a care facility as her cancer rapidly progressed. No one was at the house. A big snow came, and my son asked to go outside and shovel. However, I soon discovered it wasn’t our drive he was shoveling. He had gone to her house and was doing the whole drive by himself. He said it didn’t matter if she was there or not. My son wanted to keep it open for her—for when she came home. He continued to do this for several more snows.

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“Heroes”

We read and hear about the heroes who give their lives—veterans of war and conflict, first responders in a tragic occurrence, teachers and citizens who stand up and protect others while sacrificing self. We may wonder if we could have been them at that time, in that circumstance, in that place.

We may not read and hear about the silent heroes who give sacrificially daily as caregivers, as mothers of young children, as fathers working two jobs, as behind-the-scenes volunteers who cuddle and calm the opioid-addicted babies, as hospice volunteers who sit by the bedsides of the dying with no family, holding their hands to the last breath.

But we can read about the One who gave the ultimate sacrifice for us all. Jesus bore our sins, though sinless; He suffered humiliation and torture, though innocent; He forgave those who crucified Him, though they were guilty; He died that we might live eternally, though we never deserved such mercy and grace.

Our society desperately needs those who would strive to be Christ-like and have more empathy, more compassion, more giving of self. We each need to be that “hero” who would give so completely and empty self for others.

Then Jesus told His disciples, “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself

 and take up his cross and follow Me.” (Matthew 16:24)

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The little boy shoveling the snow all alone for someone who never saw it, doing it out of selfless caring and love– just a kid who would rather play in the snow but chose to give the gift of himself in a labor of love– was that “hero” in that time, in that circumstance, in that place.

I had to tell him she wasn’t coming home, and he could put down the shovel, that she knew he was doing it for her and she was grateful for his sacrifice. The instrument: A shovel. The life lesson: Denial of self for another.

And the Teacher continues to instruct us always in the lessons of selfless giving,

maybe through the heart of a child.

(Sharon G. Tate blog 11/11/18) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

God’s Children are Never Orphaned

 

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (James 1:27)

The Orphan Child

I hunger.

I thirst.

I cry out.

Who hears?

I am alone.

Homeless.

Orphaned.

Fatherless.

My reality.

A statistic?

Who is responsible for these children? We are told in God’s Word that the responsibility for their care is OURS.

But we may not see these children, some would contend. Surely, others who are closer to these orphans are more responsible?

Our justifications, claims, assertions, contentions do not exempt us from the calling to “look after orphans and widows in their distress.” I am as responsible as anyone who physically lives nearby and passes the orphan child living on the street.

In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus was asked to define who is our neighbor. He told the parable of a man who was beaten, robbed, and left to die. Three men passed by this man but only one stopped to help. Jesus asked, “Which of the three became a neighbor to the man attacked by robbers?” 37 “The one who treated him kindly,” the religion scholar responded. Jesus said, “Go and do the same.” (Luke 10:36-37)

Let us “go and do the same” to those in need. We cannot pass them by. We are called to be compassionate like Christ.

We are His hands, His arms, His feet, His eyes, His ears, His voice, His heart in this life. We have the way and means to give to these children and help care for them, as we are called to do. Through organizations like Orphan’s Lifeline International, we can financially offer an orphan child a meal, clothing, shelter, survival.

 Together, we can give hope to the orphan child who cries out, waiting to be heard.

 (Sharon G. Tate blog 11/04/18) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word