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Tag Archives: Christian service
While there is value to the contemplative life of prayer, true Christian service is rendered unto needy humans. Jesus congratulates some for feeding the hungry, the sick, the imprisoned, for giving clothes to the poor. They are incredulous. They don’t remember doing this to Jesus: Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?
Jesus responds: Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. — Matt. 25:37-40 NIV.
Jesus inseparably identifies himself not with the pope, not with the saint, not with the pastor, but with the poor and abject.
There are all kinds of needs. There are suicidal kids, dying marriages, gospel-ignorant peoples. The picture is of remote modern hermits in Ethiopia who follow the the hermit model. I don’t criticize anyone’s efforts to serve Christ. I’m sure they’re making an impact in the world through prayer. But I wish to say here: Serving PEOPLE of any need is serving Jesus.
As Americans, we are willing to lose to win. After all, an investment of money or time is a present loss that holds the potential for a future gain. Even if we lose on an investment, we keep making them. Some are risk-adverse, others risk-takers. In investing, the higher the risk, the higher the return.
Would you leave one modest business for the opportunity to make it big? That’s what the disciples did. They left fishing fish to get in on fishing men.
They probably didn’t understand everything at the beginning. They thought, like all Jews at the time, that the Messiah would inaugurate an earthly kingdom like King David’s. So the disciples were banking on becoming his cabinets heads. As things panned out, the investment was far greater than expected and the payout, in Heaven.
Is it worth it to lose 80 years of life for an eternity of glory?
When it comes to viewing God, some people are like the dog and others like the cat. The dog loves his master, waits patiently for him, serves him gladly. The cat thinks he is the master, that all the care and food that his owner lavishes on him means he is god.
Sadly, too much of American Christianity is self-serving. Now it’s true that God wants to bless his children. But sometimes He gives them trials. And ultimately, we are to serve Him, even sacrifice ourselves to get the gospel out.
Slaves were expected to perform grudgingly, only under fear of whipping, so when Joseph showed up whistling at his work, his boss was taken aback. Joseph made all the other slaves look bad because he did more work, did a better job, got things cleaner, cooked better. Whatever task he was assigned, he outdid expectations.
Eventually, Potiphar promoted him to managing director, in charge of his entire household.
As Christians, we should exceed expectations regularly. In our service in church, on outreach in the field, taking care of the needy of the world, we must strive for excellence and not offer a second-best or good-enough “sacrifice with blemish.”
At the end of 13 years of this trial, Joseph went from slave to vice president. God saw his faithfulness and excellent service and promoted him. We can expect good things if we exceed expectations.
They received a stern command. They were NOT to store manna for the next day. Nevertheless, some Israelites disobeyed, and the delightful food provided by God on one day was completely filled with maggots the next.
Herein lies a great Biblical truth. God has given you resources — money, talent, time, energy. Use it for God today. Don’t hold over for tomorrow because you might not get the chance. It might rot.
Too many Christians plan to give to God at some future date, whether their service or their offerings. Stop putting it off. Do it today. The suffering masses of humanity need to be reached today with the Good News. The need is not going to be more acute or chronic tomorrow (it will if you don’t give today what God has called you to give).