Serving Others: Requirement of the Law or the Effect of Gospel?

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24  Then they began to argue among themselves about who would be the greatest among them. 25  Jesus told them, “In this world the kings and great men lord it over their people, yet they are called ‘friends of the people.’ 26  But among you it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant. 27  Who is more important, the one who sits at the table or the one who serves? The one who sits at the table, of course. But not here! For I am among you as one who serves. Luke 22:24-27 (NLT)

167  Make up the time you have lost resting on the laurels of your self-complacency, and thinking what a good person you are, as if it were enough just to keep going, without stealing or killing. Speed up the pace of your piety and your work: you still have such a long way to go: Live happily with everyone, even with those who annoy you, and make an effort to love —to serve!—those whom you despised before.  (1)

“Christianity is the only co-operative society that exists for the benefit of non-members  (2)

Thirty years ago, as I was a sophmore (Literally translated ‘wise fool’ and it fit) at a small Bible College, I was somewhat of an idealist.

The school’s motto was that it was to prepare “Servant-Leaders” who would change the world for Christ.  That was our mission, and many of us dreamed of the glory that would occur in our lives.  Some of us would head to the mission field.  Some into congregations where they would minister with children or youth or music, or some as preachers.

Thirty years later, I am less idealistic.  I lost long ago the visions of doing something spectacular in the sight of God and man.  And to be honest, with that burden gone, I find more joy in what i see God doing.  As I heard of how my church members minister to one of their own this morning, as I observed them caring for the new people who visited our church yesterday.  I hear of the sacrifice of others, as they care for their families, even their friends. These may seem to be little things – but it is amazing to observe God’s love pouring out.

At the same time, it is amazing to see the hunger and thirst for God’s word, for the sacraments.  There seems to be this connection between God providing for us, and our providing, in very meaningful ways, for others. There is something about knowing the presence of God, and hungering to be present for others, There is something about receiving Christ’s mercy, about knowing that God is compassion towards us, and is passionate in His care for us. It empowers us, it drives us, it raises our awareness of those who need to know God..

One of my favorite passages to teach/preach/use explains this connection between God serving us, and our serving others…

1  And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Romans 12:1 (NLT)

This is the norm, when you walk with God.  To imitate Christ as He served, serving those around.  Such is the blessing of being a living sacrifice.

I think that may be the problem we have had in recent years. That we’ve made serving God an obligation, that you are only holy if you serve

But what if serving is a way of finding out who we are in Christ?  What if it is a blessing, a gift from God as we realize how He has designed us to live?  What if in serving, we find out how much more God services us?  What if our serving is simply the side affect of becoming children of God?

Servants who lead – because our leader served.

This blog post has wandered a bit today… but there is an obvious need to return to these roots, to live in Christ, like Christ.  For our own sake, to be a church that is more interested in those who are struggling, than in ourselves.  But that can’t be done in a compensatory manner.  It comes as we know, as we experience Christ.  The Lord who served others in life, and by His death, and still serves us today…..

Lord Have mercy by guiding us to show mercy.  AMEN

 

 

 

(1)   Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). Furrow (Kindle Locations 916-920). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

(2) Northumbrian Community:   Celtic Daily Prayer,  Entry for May 5

 

About justifiedandsinner

I am a pastor of a Concordia Lutheran Church in Cerritos, California, where we rejoice in God's saving us from our sin, and the unrighteousness of the world. It is all about His work, the gift of salvation given to all who trust in Jesus Christ, and what He has done that is revealed in Scripture. God deserves all the glory, honor and praise, for He has rescued and redeemed His people.

Posted on May 5, 2014, in Devotions, The Furrow and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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