What if? What if God’s intention is that we who have been invited into His family, live out our lives GIVING instead of receiving. Sacrificing self, instead of building up self? What if it is His idea that we be the ones who are doing the asking, the inviting, the encouraging even if it isn’t reciprocated?
At one point in Jesus ministry, two of his disciples came to Him and said “We’ve got something we want you to do for us…. We want you to give us a good position in your ministry. We want to be your right- and left-hand men…” Jesus response – “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant. And whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:43-45) (NIV)
Jesus would later tell all of his disciples “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (Luke 10:2) (NIV)
When Jesus said “the workers are few”, He is speaking of people who will serve others without it being reciprocated – to walk across the room to the person who sits alone, seems out of place, and invite them in. He is speaking of kingdom workers who are willing to work through those feelings of being the “only one making an effort”, the fear of rejection or being misunderstood, for the good of the other person. People who want nothing more than to see that individual come face to face with the One who meets their every need, Jesus Christ, today, instead of the day of judgement. People who seek to serve instead of a place to sit.
This weekend we turn to Mark Chapter 2 and look at 4 or more, ironically, nameless individuals who did this very thing. And from this example, we find calibration points for our lives that will change the way we see our purpose and life as a Christ follower, our individual need for acceptance and involvement, and most importantly how we see others and the opportunity before us every day to serve them.
I will always be the one to walk across the room. Notice I didn’t say “I should always be.” That implies a choice.” When I surrendered my life to Jesus in baptism, I made the choice to follow Him no matter what, no turning back. I will always be the one…..I use that word picture “walk across the room” because it means something. What does it mean in your life right now and are you walking?
I will allow God to deal with me and my hang-ups while I relentlessly serve others. Peoples lives are messy… While I was on vacation I watched an episode of “Hoarders”. Although it had a little extra drama scripted in there to add a little flavor for TV, the situation brought to mind some of the messy situations I’ve walked into serving others. Messy homes, messy relationships, lack of faith, misguided love…. But more than the mess I walked into was the mess I brought with me. My life that had become so busy with my own stuff. My lack of grace and compassion for others. My sheltered life, or my structured life that would have me cast judgement instead of grace. What hang-ups are keeping you from wholeheartedly serving others?
I am not finished serving until the other person is in front of Jesus and transformed. Now, those of you who have brought others to Christ you know how humbling this reality is..... To know that your obedience to the Spirit's prompting, that something that happened to you in the past that God allowed to break your heart, was allowed so you would see someone else’s pain...... To know that your willingness to walk across the room and engage that person because of your faith and trust in Jesus is what led to them receiving salvation, the forgiveness of sins, and the gift of eternal life..... That's humbling. But it is also transforming. How willing are you to allow God’s transformation to continue in me while you serve others?
I can’t wait to finish this series with you this weekend. Until then, let’s serve someone around us daily and begin digging through the things that keep us from this way of life today.