Thursday, February 28, 2013

We are Called to Serve - Follow up to the Serving Ones

To post my perspective of the minor sickness epidemics that go through our household I was thinking about Jesus' call to all believers everywhere to serve.  

As He says in Matthew 20:28 after responding to the request of James and John's mother:

28 even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Or I like the Amplified Bible version too that puts it like this :

28 Just as the Son of Man came not to be waited on but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many [the price paid to set them free].

There's something so intensely powerful about Jesus' life and ministry.  Yes He is God and yes He was called to die on the Cross for forgiveness of sin and be raised on the third day to overcome death and Satan, yes He was obedient to the Father to the point of death, even death on a cross!  These are all great theological/religious truths and I don't want to downplay the importance of them but until recently, the Holy Spirit has only really begun to cement these into my heart, mind, soul and strength.

I begin to view life like the Paul says in Romans 14:7-8 after talking about considering others in how we live out our freedom in Christ Jesus and not causing anyone to stumble by how we live out our freedom:

For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

We belong to the Lord.  We are not our own!  We were bought at a price!

Do we all fully understand that, WE ARE NOT OUR OWN!

Paul tells us clearly how to respond to this revelation in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (emphasis added):

19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

Yes this is the context of not indulging in sexual immorality, but the context is clear, honor God with your bodies or as elsewhere:

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship." - Romans 12:1

We are living sacrifices to God, our lives, our actions, our thoughts, our time, love, money, effort, possessions, spouses, children, family, whatever it is in our lives all belongs to God.  We can try to hold onto them and cheat Him out of those things and try to enjoy life here for ourselves, but ultimately we're going to leave that all anyway and our souls will be demanded from us for accounting before God.  

Another illustration from the Gospel of Luke that has really struck me about how I live life here on earth too from Luke 12:13-21 (emphasis added):

13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”
14 Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” 15 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.
16 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’
18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’
20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’
21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”

Be on your guard against all kinds of greed.  Wow, thats powerful, the whole world tells us to be greedy!  It's so easy to rationalize that that's ok given that everyone else around us doing it.  Or worse still to look around and think to ourselves, we're not so bad, we're doing better than everyone else, I can indulge a little and so toe the line rather than living fully for God.

But Jesus doesn't stop there and leave us hanging, He goes on in Luke 12:22-30 (emphasis added again):

22 Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear.23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. 24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!25 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?
27 “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! 29 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them.

For the pagan world runs after all such things and your Father knows that you need them.

Do we trust God enough to believe that He does know what we need and supplies it as we seek after Him first and foremost in our lives?

And the punchline:

31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.


But again, Jesus doesn't stop there, He's interested in a more complete transformation Luke 12:32-34:

32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

What has struck me about verse 34 is that it talks about the heart.  There are many many people doing many many good things, many many Christians doing many many good things, but where do our hearts dwell?  Do they truly dwell on and with our Father or do they still dwell on and with the things of this earth?

Where is my treasure?  Is it in preserving my own life, possessions, well-being?  Or is it in our God?  My prayer is that it would be in our Lord Jesus Christ!


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