Thursday, March 11, 2010

Life of Service, Part 2

So what does a life of service look like?

This is what Jesus said about it:

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.
Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

         You know what I really love about that passage? They had to ask the King when they had served him! They said, “Lord, when did we do those things??” Seriously? They didn’t know?? 

No, they didn’t know they were serving the King in their day-to-day acts of service. Service was such a part of their world, of their everyday life, it wasn’t a chore or extra errand for them to check off of a list; it was their passion of life.

What does a life of service look like? I think that in order to fully answer that, we must first understand what God has asked of us. When He calls us to serve, what does He mean?

Isaiah 58 is one of the most powerful passages on this. Starting in verse 7, this is what God has said,

“What I’m interested in seeing you do is: sharing your food with the hungry, inviting the homeless poor into your homes, putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad, being available to your own families. Do this and the lights will turn on…

Continuing in verse 9…

“If you get rid of unfair practices, quit blaming victims, quit gossiping about other people’s sins, if you are generous with the hungry and start giving yourselves to the down-and-out, your lives will begin to glow in the darkness, your shadowed lives will be bathed in sunlight.

And then in verse 11, for anyone looking for hope, here’s a word for you…

“I will always show you where to go. I’ll give you a full life in the emptiest of places - firm muscles, strong bones. You’ll be like a well-watered garden, a gurgling spring that never runs dry. You’ll use the old rubble of past lives to build anew, rebuild the foundations from out of your past. You’ll be known as those who can fix anything, restore old ruins, rebuild and renovate, make the community livable again.

Seriously, yall! As they say in Texas, if that doesn’t light your fire with hope, your wood is wet!

Further Scripture says this about the topic:

James 1:14-17
         What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

2 Corinthians 8:13
Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality, as it is written: “He who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little.”

Proverbs 3:27
Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act.

         I know that many have studied the Proverbs 31 woman, the lady who set the bar entirely too high for us. She frustrates me to no end, but when I went back to read about her again in light of Isaiah 58, one thing stood out to me. 

A wife of noble character who can find? 
       She is worth far more than rubies.

 11 Her husband has full confidence in her 
       and lacks nothing of value.

 12 She brings him good, not harm, 
       all the days of her life.

 13 She selects wool and flax 
       and works with eager hands.

 14 She is like the merchant ships, 
       bringing her food from afar.

 15 She gets up while it is still dark; 
       she provides food for her family 
       and portions for her servant girls.

 16 She considers a field and buys it; 
       out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.

 17 She sets about her work vigorously; 
       her arms are strong for her tasks.

 18 She sees that her trading is profitable, 
       and her lamp does not go out at night.

 19 In her hand she holds the distaff 
       and grasps the spindle with her fingers.

 20 She opens her arms to the poor 
       and extends her hands to the needy.

 21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household; 
       for all of them are clothed in scarlet.

 22 She makes coverings for her bed; 
       she is clothed in fine linen and purple.

 23 Her husband is respected at the city gate, 
       where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.

 24 She makes linen garments and sells them, 
       and supplies the merchants with sashes.

 25 She is clothed with strength and dignity; 
       she can laugh at the days to come.

 26 She speaks with wisdom, 
       and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

 27 She watches over the affairs of her household 
       and does not eat the bread of idleness.

 28 Her children arise and call her blessed; 
       her husband also, and he praises her:

 29 "Many women do noble things, 
       but you surpass them all."

 30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; 
       but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

 31 Give her the reward she has earned, 
       and let her works bring her praise at the city gate. 

Did you hear it? In the midst of all that she had going on in her life, while selecting wool and flax, while bringing food, while buying a field and planting a vineyard, while spinning clothes and making bed coverings, somehow in the midst of all of that, she did not forget God’s command:

Verse 20 says, She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. This excellent wife, this amazing mother whose children rise up to call her blessed, she did not forget the commands of the Lord. Amidst the whirlwinds of her busy life, she did not forget that first and foremost, she has been called a servant of the Most High God. She did not forget what He had called her to do. 

So if this great woman, this example to us all, should we not follow her lead in the area as well?

More to come...

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1 comment:

  1. I loved this post Shauna. The Proverbs 31 woman has always been a great example for me. My mom made a modern version using me in it for mother's day one year, and I cry every time I read it. I can only hope that it could be said of me that I chose to do the things that glorify the Lord in my life as "she" does in hers.


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