Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Christian Service

"For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to be served, and to give His life as a ransom for many." Mark 10:45

So many times I have approached a task by thinking that I have something to offer, that I can do something to be a blessing to others. You would think by now that I would know better! God has shown me over and over again (apparently I am a slow learner) that whenever I show up to serve others, or to complete a task He has given me to do, that it is I who am blessed. I learn and grow each time. It is God who purposes and places us to perform the tasks He has called us to do. It is the LORD'S work, not ours. He uses a variety of people in a variety of places and circumstances to accomplish His will and for His glory. We may not always like the task He has given us. We may not be happy where that task leads us (49 degrees in Michigan this morning....and we packed for summer), but we need to remember that it is NOT about us! It IS and always SHOULD BE about HIM ALONE!!!

"...whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10:31

We should work and serve "heartily, as unto the Lord and not men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance." (Colossians 3:23-24) We are not to be self seeking. Romans chapter 2 warns us that it is "God, 'who will render to each one according to his deeds' : eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness - indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil.....but glory, honor and peace to everyone who works what is good." Rewards are not given based on our success, but on our faithful service.

If you know me at all, you know my many weaknesses. I am a detail-oriented, perfectionistic, control freak, that has a hard time "going with the flow"!! This week I am serving at Joni and Friends Family Retreat with my husband, Chad, and my daughter, Katherine. Once again God is at work in my heart. Things may not always go as planned, but God is faithful and patient to show me His goodness and kindness through others. This week our theme is the JOY of the Lord is our strength from Nehemiah 8:10. The week is just getting started. I am tired already, and because of my disability I don't have a lot to do. I have way more free time than I expected. It is difficult to get around this large campus. I feel a bit isolated. I am not one of the families or campers here, but I am also not really one of the STMs (short term missionaries). OK, technically that IS my "job title" and yet I am only working a couple hours each afternoon sitting in the bookstore 3 days this week.

Why am I telling you all of this? It is part confession and part (hopefully) inspiration. Last night I returned to my room and wondered why am I even here. I am too tired and have too much difficulty getting around to do all the things I anticipated. I am new here and don't know where to really go do something that I can do to be useful. I feel under utilized. I. I. I. I. Yep! Last night I realized it isn't about ME. God didn't bring me here to serve Him so I could throw a pity party for myself. So I woke up this morning and read and prayed and found a great sermon to help me get my eyes focused back here they should be.

My eyes should be on Jesus, and my service offered to Him. It is not about me. It is not about what I want. It is not about my abilities or inabilities. It was never supposed to be. Here is Alistair Begg's introduction to the sermon that greatly blessed me today- "All who are called to Christ are called to service. With any ministry, it is important to keep in mind that it is the Lord's work; He assigns the tasks and uniquely gifts a variety of individuals to work together to fulfill His plan, for His glory. The ideal place to serve God is wherever He has placed you, doing whatever He has given you to do. As Paul notes in his closing remarks to the Corinthians, great opposition often accompanies effective ministry."

Such a good reminder that when God hands us a job to do, we need to go and do the job! Accept your limitations- you can't do everything. Embrace your responsibilities- you can do something. We cannot worry about whether or not we do it perfectly. It is not about whether or not you like this job, or like him/her you are working for or with, but instead, it is about doing the work of the Lord. What I should be concerned about is 'am I doing the work of the Lord?' That is the real issue.

Once again I am humbled and repentant. I am thankful for the work that God is doing in my heart as I learn to submit and to trust and to lay down my life in service to Him. So I carry on, not in my own strength but in His. I head out to meet and talk to as many people as I can, because God has already shown me that it is the little moments- a kind word, a gesture, or just being available to can be a blessing to others and to myself. I am here this week to serve God in the way He has prepared in advance for me to serve. As much as anyone here, I have a lot to learn about myself, others and the Lord of the universe. May God alone be glorified!!

Get up and go do the job to which YOU have been called.......

"Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart." Galatians 6:9

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