Archive for the ‘Servanthood’ Category

THE ONE REQUIREMENT

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

Day 220

“You servant was tending his father’s sheep”
1 Samuel 17:34

What is the one overriding characteristic of our Father in heaven? It is His love for us. First, He created us with the explicit purpose of being partakers in His divinity and having fellowship. He proved to be unchangeable in this purpose. He has never deviated from His original plan in spite of man’s rebellion. Everything He does points to the completion of His eternal plan.

The recorded history of God’s relationship with us continually demonstrates His love. He first loved us. He seeks us. He restores us. He is faithful, even when we are not faithful. He continually thinks on us. He sustains, girds, strengthens, and prospers us. And, in our weakness and wickedness, He sent His only Son to show us the way back. And for that He paid a price of suffering and death. All for us.

Do you aspire to minister? There is only one requirement. When David made his case to challenge Goliath, his reason was that he took care of his father’s sheep. Go all the way to Jesus’ last days and listen to His conversation with Peter; “Do you love me more than these?” Jesus asked Peter the same question three times. Each time Peter said yes and the Lord’s answer was, “Feed My lambs,” “Shepherd My sheep,” and “Feed My sheep.” There is the one requirement; you must have a compelling and practical love to the point of laying down your life for God’s people. It is as He Himself has shown us.

“Then we your people, the sheep of your pasture,
will praise you forever; from generation to
generation we will recount your praise”
Psalm 79:13

SALVATION AND MORE

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

Day 181

“I have given you an example to follow.
Do as I have done to you”
John 13:15

There is no question that God’s salvation is the greatest gift anyone could receive. It has set us free from sin and death, made us new, partakers of His nature, His children, personal friends of our Lord and Savior and residents of a greater kingdom than any other on earth or in the heavens. What we’ve gained is endless. The height and depth of it is not measurable. His love is the foundation and basis for this great salvation.

Christ’s love that brought us salvation is not a one time act. The power of His love equips us to not only live, but grow every day in Him. He has given us the means to make our salvation rich and full. How? “Do as I have done to you,” He said. And He showed us how by example. It could not be seen more powerfully then at the last supper when He girded Himself and became a humble servant washing the feet of the very people He created!

How is God glorified; by walking in His love with humility. “We should please others” [Romans 15:2]; “Live a life filled with love for others” [Ephesians 5:2], “You must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy … You must make allowances for each other’s faults … the most important piece of clothing you must wear is love. Love is what binds us all together in perfect harmony” [Colossians 3:12-14]. Oh, how rich and full our salvation is by loving Him and our brethren!

“Hereby perceive we the love of God, because
He laid down His life for us, we ought to
lay down our lives for the brethren”
1 John 3:16

GOD’S WAY

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

Day 100

“Christ Jesus . . . made Himself nothing”

Philippians 2:3-8

Have you ever noticed how much we are occupied with ourselves and our ‘rights?’ Our ‘rights’ come to forefront and become stronger when we lose our sense of who we are in Christ. Sometimes the local body of Christ suffers from this syndrome because of living in clicks, divisions and traditions. A local culture rules in place of Christ. A church only becomes loving when the body lays down their lives to serve others.

Paul said that believers would make his joy complete if they were like-minded, have the same love and were of one spirit and purpose.  He declared we were to do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility “consider others better than yourselves.”  What a command!  It goes to the heart of who we are in Christ, but unfortunately we want a comfort zone and our life in the body is ‘attending’ church and doing a ‘few good works. Truly laying down our lives can get in the way big time!

God knew this.  He knows our nature.  He doesn’t ask us to do anything we are unable to do.  He became one of us, lived as us, and practiced the very things He asks to do in the word.  But there is more – He was God, but made Himself nothing! He took the nature of a servant!  He humbled Himself to a low place and submitted – became obedient – to death.  This was to show us how to do it.  And now that same Holy Spirit that dwelled in Him dwells in you and me.  What power to be humble!  What power to honor others!  This is your right – eternal love through humility.

“But we have the mind of Christ”

1 Corinthians 2:16

ROYAL PRIESTHOOD

Friday, May 14th, 2010

Day 86

“You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood,
a holy nation, a people belonging to God,
that you may declare the praises of Him
who called you out of darkness
into His wonderful light”
1 Peter 2:9

Every believer is a minister. The psalmist says, “Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous deeds among all people” [Psalm 96:3]. Paul says that the pastors and teachers are to prepare God’s people for works of service [Ephesians 4:11-13]. We are to minister to the Lord, and we are to minister to the people. Jesus said, “You are the light of the world” [Matthew 5:14]. We are cautioned not to hide the light, but to prominently display our faith before all.

Think about this. We are so familiar with a clergy-lay people system that many perceive ministry as belonging to those who are trained as ministers. The fact is the word of God says every true believer is meant to minister in the manner according to which God has called them. Those entrusted with the call of being pastors and teachers are meant to perfect the saints for ministry.

And the most amazing aspect of the role of true believers as ministers is that God has entrusted the message of His kingdom to you! In spite of your imperfections, failings, shyness, lack of education, or any other perceived impediment, God has called you to minister. He has given you the Holy Spirit to be your Counselor, Guide, and to equip you with the right decisions at the time of need. He has spread His love abroad in your heart, enabling you to give of yourself to others. Yes, He has made you His minister.

“In the same way, let your light shine before
men, that they may see your good deeds
and praise your Father in heaven”
Matthew 5:16

THE MASTER AS A SERVANT

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

Day 84

“But I am among you as one who serves”
Luke 22:27

Servanthood is an area of our walk with Christ that many people miss. In fact, even the disciples wrestled with this issue and with the way in which Christ carried it out in His life. They were perplexed, unable to understand what Christ was doing. The same difficulty exists with us today. We gain knowledge and understanding, but it never seems to reach the depth of our character.

It was the time of the Passover when this really came to light. Preparations were made. They secured a guest room, prepared for the Passover and gathered together at the table of the Last Supper. It was here where the struggle took place. Jesus got up from the meal [John 13:4], changed clothes, and washed the feet of the disciples. They were embarrassed; Peter even resisted Him. Jesus replied that unless He was allowed to wash his feet, Peter was to have no part of Him. It wasn’t the first time this happened. The disciples knew ‘someone’ should have done it. But the Master? No, no, He shouldn’t have to become a servant.

Have you read that we should be servants? The disciples heard it. They didn’t have a problem with understanding it, but often failed to carry it out. But when the Master was a servant it was too much for them. Their understanding of servanthood did not embrace true humility. Jesus came to do what Adam and mankind had failed to do – obey God. So the Lord and King of the universe and heavens became a servant.

Like the disciples, the same thing has happened to us – we have had our feet washed by the God of the universe. He has cleansed us, and now He tells us we are to do the same – we are to be servants.

“The greatest among you should be like
the youngest, and the one who rules
like the one who serves”
Luke 22:27

THE PRACTICAL SIDE OF JESUS

Friday, April 30th, 2010

Day 71

“Not long afterward Jesus began a tour of the
nearby cities and villages to announce the
Good News concerning the Kingdom of God”
Luke 8:1-2

Did you know the Creator of the Universe, our sovereign God, placed the finances for part of Jesus’ ministry in the hands of a group of women? Jesus’ ministry depended on income from others. Imagine that – God has a practical side! And He made sure that it would be remembered forever by having it recorded in the Bible.

These women were Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Susanna, and others who formed a group who traveled with Jesus and supported the ministry team. Luke tells us they even gave out of their own income. And Joanna was the wife of Herod’s business manager, of all people! These women were among those who Jesus delivered from sin and affliction. Seven demons came out of Mary. This was the Good News concerning the Kingdom of God. The power of the Kingdom was demonstrated by the casting out of demons and the healing of diseases. These women visibly showed the glory of God to others through their deliverance and salvation.

In serving the day to day needs of Jesus’ ministry, this small band of women gave liberally. Jesus not only shows his practical side, he also clearly demonstrates that women have a ministry in the church. Every act of Jesus is to bring great glory to God and we see in these verses that glory is found in those who serve him.

“When He was in Galilee, they used to follow Him and
minister to Him; and there were many other women
who came up with Him to Jerusalem.”
Mark 15:2

“Among them were Mary Magdelene, from whom He had cast out seven
demons, Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s business manager;
Susanna; and many others who were contributing from their
own resources to support Jesus and His disciples”
Luke 8:2-3

HIS TENDERNESS

Monday, April 19th, 2010

Day 61

“Do not let your hearts any longer be troubled.
Trust in God; trust also in me”
John 14:1

It was the Last Supper. Jesus announced Judas’ imminent betrayal, and Peter’s denial. His disciples didn’t fully understand why He had to go and die; they resisted even the thought of it. They were sad, confused, and troubled by the events. Jesus Himself was troubled in the spirit.

In the midst of these unfolding events and troubled hearts, two very powerful acts of love took place. Christ humbled Himself at the supper and washed the feet of His disciples, even the feet of the one who would betray Him. He did what they failed to do. In so doing, He forever set the pattern of true love and ministry. And then, in an unselfish and tender manner, He spoke to their very hearts with words of comfort and reassurance.

This brought the disciples to a realization of their own selfishness. Having the Master wash their feet was a humbling experience. His love revealed their self-occupation; it was almost offensive to them. Yet Christ neither focused on their failures, nor on their weaknesses; but brought comfort and assurance to them. Isn’t He the same with us?

“I am going there to prepare a place for you”

John 14:2

A BLANK CHECK

Sunday, February 28th, 2010

Day 17

“To the praise of the glory of his grace,
wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”
Ephesians 1:6

Imagine someone giving you a blank check to an account that had endless money in it! You could draw whatever you needed, whenever it was needed. It surely would change your life, wouldn’t it? That is exactly what we possess as followers of Jesus Christ. His grace has made us acceptable to the Beloved. We belong to Him. We have access to Him and have been given everything we need to prosper in Him.

Peter says that, “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness.” Paul says in 2 Corinthians, “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” There are no reservations in these statements. God has equipped us with grace for everything. It is endless. Not one of us is without supply!

And the ultimate purpose of this is the glory of God. We have been made holy and blameless before Him. The Father has imparted this grace freely to us through His Son, Jesus Christ, the Beloved. It is the Beloved Jesus who earned every spiritual blessing for us through His death. He wants us to have what He earned. And so, it is because of the Beloved that the Father would grant us whatever we need.

“He that spared not His own Son, but delivered
Him up for us all, how shall He not together
with Him graciously give us all things”
Romans 8:32