FREE THEME – Loving through Service
This past week I went to Love Grows, a weekend youth retreat focused on growing your love for others through service. Throughout the weekend we were striving to follow Jesus’ teachings when he told us the two greatest commandments: Love the LORD your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:37-39). This is so important to live by daily. If we love God then we will love others. We need to express unconditional love to everyone, always. By doing this we can train ourselves to see God’s work that needs to be done. Ask God for courage to step out of your comfort zone to do His work. Thankfully, God has given us spiritual gifts, talents, and passions to serve those around us. So use them.
One easy way to show love to others is to serve them. As Christians it’s our responsibility to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Thankfully we can look to the best example of a servant’s heart. Jesus. The most exciting part is that there are so many different ways to shine and serve. It could be as simple as giving someone a hug or a high five. Or even easier, smiling. Whatever it may be, take a minute of your time to invest in someone else’s life. Compliment. Listen. Encourage. It’s amazing how big of an impact a little kindness can have. We just have to keep our eyes open for opportunities.
I want strangers to be able to know that I am different. I want people to see God in me. And I hope you all have similar goals. The only hitch is that it has to be more than just a goal. We need to act in order to make it reality. We should make it a priority. Jesus called us to be different. Be the change. We have a higher calling. Higher standards. Higher expectations. Jesus is calling you to love.
Today we are going to dive deeper into the discussion of good works and how we should apply it to our own lives.
Among some of Paul’s reminders to Titus, in chapter 3, verse 1, he mentions being ¨ready to do whatever is good¨. (Titus 3:1) Continue to ask God to show you what good works you can do. Ask Him to open your eyes to see what service needs to be done. Since God showed His love to us it is now our job to show that love to others.
¨This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good.¨ (Titus 3:8)
As we wait for the coming Kingdom we have a job to do. An opportunity to make a difference. Not only that, but it leads to a joyful and fulfilling life focused on God.
¨Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order to provide for urgent needs and not live unproductive lives.¨ (Titus 3:14)
Throughout Titus I see a recurring theme of the importance of good works. This makes me believe that this was something Paul didn’t want Titus and the church in Crete to forget. So maybe we should devote ourselves to doing good as well. Find a way to serve and then do it.
¨Be somebody who makes everybody feel like a somebody¨ -Brad Montague
Grace (& good works) be with you all,
– Makayla Railton
“Likewise, good works are obvious, and those that are not obvious cannot remain hidden.” 1 Timothy 5:25
In 1 Timothy 5, Paul changes his focus to how those in the church should take care of those in need. In the early church, the church created a support system for widows who could not take care of themselves (because of cultural norms and their age). This support system was an important part of the church’s ministry and testimony. In fact, James says, “Pure and undefiled religion is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world” (James 1:27). Paul does give requirements about which widows to serve in this chapter, but a central truth here is that we should be serving those who are in need now.
As we look at the modern-day church, we need to ask ourselves what we are doing for those in need now. We’ve talked this week about how our faith will be shown through our actions. When we are following Jesus, we should show gentleness as one of the fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5). According to this passage, we should also be showing kindness and goodness through our generosity and hospitality. If you look at your life and find this is not the case, think of ways you can begin to serve those around you, whether in a church ministry or one you create yourself. This type of service should be an outpouring of your strong relationship with Jesus.
Just like Jesus cautions in Matt. 6, when you serve, you need to ask yourself what you are doing this for. If you are serving to try to save yourself, you can stop and rest. God’s gift of grace is the only thing that saves us. If you are serving to gain glory from others, you should stop and ask for humility. As Jesus says over and over again, when you are applauded for your actions by man now, you’ve gotten the reward for your actions. We should serve, because we want to love our brothers and sisters in Christ just like Jesus loved us. And, “your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you” (Matt. 6:4).
~ Cayce Fletcher
“The two of them, sent on their way by the Holy Spirit…” Acts 13:4
Is God calling you? When’s the last time you’ve looked and watched somebody go on a missions trip? Go up front at church and speak? Or teach a class? Do you ever think ‘I should be doing that.’ Maybe God is calling you to do that. When have you ever allowed the Holy Spirit to speak to you and send you out to do God’s work? God has equipped and called each and every one of us to go do great things for the glory of His Kingdom. Nothing brings more joy than recognizing the purpose that God has made you for. Heavenly Father, help me to open my mind and heart to where You are calling me.
Open your ears and heart and listen for God’s voice in the less obvious places.
“We tell you the good news. What God promised our fathers, he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus.” Acts 13: 32–33
I have served in many churches throughout the United States. I have been blessed to go out and have many chances to work with youth and adults alike. To see ministries started, buildings put up and peoples’ lives changed. But for me nothing compares to watching someone who serves the Lord. Men and women from our congregations serving me, helping, guiding me. Missionaries since Paul and Barnabas have risked their lives to spread God’s word in my place. Pastors and teachers have come before me and expressed their faith so that I could have a chance to know the LORD.
And Jesus died on the cross for my sins. Nothing I can do can compare with these sacrifices, and spreading God’s word is a way for me to remember my blessings and express my thanks.
Lord, show me where I can serve you and give me the strength to respond. Help me to express thanks for others’ sacrifices through action.
At first glance it appears that some of the old behaviors of the disciples are creeping back in. It almost sounds like they are saying “we are too good to serve tables.” But we see that is far from the truth. They are actually so busy serving that they are not keeping up with all of their other duties and people are going hungry!
They were actually listening when Jesus said things about the greatest being servants – maybe it kicked in the night before Jesus was sent to the cross, when Jesus got down and washed their feet. Either way, they finally understand the importance of service.
So in light of being overwhelmed with too much to do they take a page out of Jethro’s playbook. (Exodus 18) They realize more work could get done if they find qualified leaders to take over some of their duties. They find 7 people who can take care of serving the tables, which will allow the disciples to focus on their other responsibilities. Specifically, they could focus on their calling – “prayer and ministry of the word.”
While it frees up the disciples it also allows others in the church to be involved. It is important to get involved in your church – to share the load so it is not just a few people overburdened. We each have and bring different talents that make up the body. The church is most effective when all of the body is working together.
Is your church missing it’s hands, feet, ears…etc. because you are not involved? Or is it possible you are too busy doing good things that you are missing out on what God has really called you to?
I challenge you to find your place in service.
In Romans 12:1 we are told to sacrifice our bodies, a living sacrifice. This is our reasonable (or true and proper) “service”. Service is also translated correctly worship. So, a Sunday Service is a time of worship. However, in verse 2 Paul tells us how to do the sacrifice.
When we change our minds to obey God, leaving worldly things and performing God’s will, it’s worship. So, the place of worship is in our own bodies. Many people have been misled into believing that you must be in a particular place to worship. It’s better said you must be in a particular frame of mind to worship.
Tuesday, November 22
For the past year we have heard all about “fly over states”. I Chron. 24-26 could be called fly over passages in the Bible. You know what I mean. The lists and lists and lists of names that leave you wondering what inspiration of God those chapters hold. But just like all the people living in those fly over states want their voices to be heard, God lets us know he is watching and listening and involved with lives. This “memory-ing” that God walks us through gives a glimpse of the order that went into the tabernacle and how involved he was in the process, knitting it all together so it could bridge lives back to their roots. Back to an understanding that God was ever present and they were his children.
I diligently read through the list of names hoping to find a Jabez crying out to God in prayer to redeem his name and make him more than everyone believed him to be (I Chron. 4:10). And there in chapter 26, among the list of doorkeepers, I was rewarded with Obed-Edom. God makes a point to say that he had blessed him and his family of 62 doorkeepers. Doesn’t sound like the greatest position in the world, but these were men ready to serve and blessed of God to do so.
Through a set of unfortunate circumstances the Ark of the Covenant resided at the house of Obed-Edom for three months. David was attempting to move the Ark to Jerusalem and when the cattle carrying the Ark stumbled, Uzzah reached out to steady it and fell over dead.
Obed-Edom took a huge risk and must have had great faith in God along with confidence in his children to live alongside the Ark. When David decides months later it is time to take the Ark to Jerusalem, Obed-Edom could have stayed at home, but he decided to go and continue to serve. His love of God and desire for others to know that goodness had cast out all fear.
Another interesting thing about Obed-Edom is he wasn’t willing to rely on past efforts to be good enough. He had received blessing from God and wanted to stay in close relationship. By human standards leaving all you have to be a doorkeeper, that honestly wasn’t the flashiest of jobs, probably didn’t make sense to many. Obed-Edom must have agreed with what David said in Psalms 84:10, 12 – “For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the tent of my God than to dwell in the tents of wickedness… Blessed is the man who trusts in you.”
Take time today to draw close to God and know he will bless you for the effort you put into spending time with Him. Never doubt that our God of Angel Armies knows you by name and desires to make you known to future generations for your deeds of service.
Someone is counting on you living like you know you are a child of the Most High.
Keep Spreading the Light,
(photo credit – http://www.theversesproject.com/verses/204/Psalm-84.10-11)