Serving Well?

water heart

Read John 13:1-5

 Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist.Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

Serving others is a value that Jesus modeled extensively in His time with His disciples. There is no clearer depiction of that than in the passage above. Jesus, the Teacher/Son Of God, is aware that the custom has been skipped or overlooked by His followers. What does Jesus do? He doesn’t point it out and or guilt someone into doing the right thing. Instead, He gets up, humbly taking on the role of a servant. There is much to be said about modeling service and servanthood, but I’ll just address a few of them in this post. At the core of service is the heart/motivation for what we do for others. Jesus demonstrated three essential things required to serve others well.

To serve others well, value people over plans.

Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

This wasn’t a rush service job. Even though Jesus knew His time to die was close, He took this intimate time with His disciples and deliberately washed their feet. Painstakingly, Jesus poured the water, over each foot, drying each with the towel. He could have asked them all to line up, get ready for a mass service project; but He didn’t.  The plan was to die, but He took the time to serve each one there. This communicates volumes about Jesus’ concern about others. He didn’t plow through the people to just get it done! He loved them to the end. He showed them value and esteemed them greatly. That’s what serving others well looks like.

To serve others well, be confident, courageous and elevate others.

Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper.

Serving others well means that we have to be confident and courageous enough to stoop down to serve. Jesus knew who He was, to Whom He belonged and therefore, He was able to give the very best of Himself to others. Confidence is not found in belittling or berating others. Real confidence is found in knowing why you exist and for what purpose. It is found in knowing to Whom you belong and that you are unconditionally loved. Jesus knew His Father well along with His purpose and plan. His identity was not found in what He was doing (washing their feet as a servant) but in His relationship with His Father. When we truly know who and whose we are, we are free to be and to serve others around us with confidence and courage. It truly takes courage to elevate others, because it is an act of hope for others’ success, even by your submission. Serving His disciples was not “below” Him; it was an act of unconditional love. Jesus was able to show this kind of love because He Himself was love and wrapped in the Love of the Father.

To serve others well, love God and love people.

…he loved them to the end.

Jesus modeled what serving others looked like very well. He showed that it was more about loving God and people than the acts themselves. For some, love will only go “so far” but not for Jesus. He loved them all the way unto the end. His service was not just when it was convenient or easy but modeled that at any given time, serving well means loving well. He was compelled by love in everything He did having no ulterior motive or hint of self. Jesus loved His Father and followers with pure unadulterated love and He expects us to do the same.

Are you serving well?

Think over these questions:

Do you rush through tasks you do for others?

Do people feel valued and cared for by you?

How do you make people feel? Unimportant? Projects? Valued? Loved? Seen? Heard?

Is there anything you wouldn’t do for others? For Jesus?

How confident are you in who you are? To Whom you belong?

Do you have a problem in helping others succeed?

What is at the center of your motivation for serving others? Is it to get something in return?

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You Know Who Pt. 3

You Know Who

Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples,“Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”  He said to them,“But who do you say that I am?” Matthew 16:13-15

Mistaken Identity?

Have you ever been the source for a mistaken identity? You know, someone thinks you’re someone else? Maybe you have their features, or you sound like them? Whatever the case someone has mis-named you. Really it can be funny sometimes to see their reactions. I know when I’ve done that before, my response or even their sometimes to play it off is to say: “well you just have one of those faces”.

But that’s not the case here. Jesus wants to make sure these guys don’t mistake Him for someone He’s not. So He asks: Who do others say I am? And then, who do you say I am?

It’s really interesting sometimes to hear the differing responses to who others think Jesus is. Even in this passage, He’s identified by the common people as a prophet or good teacher.Jesus does not lack in titles or labels. But Jesus cuts to the real chase. The issue is not really what others think about Him; it’s what you think or know about Him.

Jesus asks the question point blank, maybe within five feet of each of His disciples. There’s only one response: You are the Christ! Son of the Living God!

Jesus goes on to say that’s exactly right. However, Peter, nor the rest of them could have come to this conclusion on their own. It had to be revealed, or unveiled,  if you like.

Ta-Da!

It’s not that Jesus or God don’t want to be found but more like they want to be uncovered.It’s kind of like a “ta-da” moment. It’s kind of like the rolling back of the panel on the Price is Right. You know it’s a car behind the screen. It’s just proven when it’s rolled back.

In all of our knowing Who Jesus is, there’s still some rolling back that God has to do in order for us to have a clearer picture of Who He really is. God has to unveil Jesus, reveal Him to us, show Him to us…but don’t worry, there’s not a Father in the world who doesn’t like to show off His kid! Ta-da!

Questions To Consider:

In what ways has God revealed Jesus to you? What pictures do you have of God that are accurate with scripture and which ones are flawed?

In what way could God use you to reveal or unveil His Son to someone else?

Ask God to help you not mistake His identity. Ask God for a “ta-da” moment to-day.

Devotionals For Leaders: Hold On!

faith to

 Getting There!

I can’t always see what God is doing…oh how I wish I could! Faith materializes things unseen but perseverance gets me there. At times it’s like grasping for air or vapor as James puts it but life cannot be grasped, only experienced. I cannot hold onto life but I can experience it by letting it go. God has intentions well beyond my scope of vision and faith. He sees things I cannot fathom with such earthly eyes. And His goal is to get me there. Whether I go kickin’ or screamin’ or with faithful trust and compliance is up to me.

Getting Ready!

I may feel that the path is too hard for me to handle, too rough to bear but He is simply preparing me for something greater than I can understand at this present point. My faith in God must be tested beyond ease and comfort to the depth of the deepest pains in my soul. Christ wants to save my soul while I try to save my life. He has made it clear that anyone who saves His life will lose it and yet how I still try to hold on! Forfeiting my soul for things of this world is not a wise move either and yet I daily face the challenges of letting go of everything to cling to Christ. 

Getting Ahold!

If knowing Christ is the goal of God and even some remote part of who I am and what I desperately want, then God will continue to strip away any and everything that competes against that goal. Christ is bringing me to a place where my faith will not waver, where my love will be real and my life will be saved. He is teaching me that holding onto anything except Him will prove to be another empty promise of life. His life is on the other side of the vision. I can’t see it very clearly yet but I have to trust He will get me there. God placed all bets on Christ to get me there and I have to as well.

Quiet Time: Thoughts And Reflections

Quiet Time

Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ’All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations . . .’ —Matthew 28:18-19

The goal for anyone serving with a missionary mindset is the authority of Jesus Christ.  As Jesus departs, leaving His disciples with a powerful word, He says “Go”. But He doesn’t just say “Go” but “Make” also. Further He says “Teach” and the “Baptize”.  These elements demonstrate God’s rule in a person’s life. Are you going? Making disciples? Teaching? Baptizing? All of these things flow from a life that has Christ as the Authority.

This does’t mean that if you have never been out of the country that you are failing, however. What it means is that from where you are, you are living with this kind of philosophy. Jesus’ disciples never traveled to vast or various countries. But they did affect them all by the way they lived their lives!

When we spent time with Jesus Christ, we are changed and that change affects everything around us and everyone we encounter. When we bear the name of Christ, sharing in the fellowship of His sufferings, others easily see who the Authority in our lives is.

Going and making disciples of all nations doesn’t require us to go very far in our day and age. We have people coming from all nations to live among us. We have the access to all nations through the means of the Internet and Social Media. Making disciples is really about making ourselves available to God to be used in such a way.

God may select some to go far while others may go near. God is the one who orchestrates our comings and goings. God is not so much hung up on “where” we are as much as what we are doing wherever we are. Abiding in Christ is the way we discern and determine the direction Christ desires for us to travel and live. Walking with Jesus on a daily basis is the best way to ensure you end up going right where He wants you.

George Lockhart

Quiet Time: Thoughts And Reflections

Quiet Time

57 As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” 59 To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” 60 And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” 61 Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” 62 Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Luke 9:57-62

 

Dead people have no feelings. Are you dead to yourself and alive in Christ? The Lord’s remarks are not meant to just “hurt” but to heal. As a surgeon may inflict pain to remove cancer or to fix a bone, so the Lord may hurt one in order to bring about healing for a soul. If one is ready to follow the Lord, be prepared to hear some hard things. Christ’s intention may feel cruel but He knows us better than we know ourselves. If He says something, it really is because He knows what is in us that will eventually erode and rot our souls. Heed His words.

Following Christ must be done with such a resoluteness that regardless of who comes in or out of my life, Christ is the One to whom I cling. I will be tempted to make myself comfortable but God’s intention is Christ-likeness and I must remember the Christ did not even have a place to lay His head. This is not to say having things is wrong or bad but just that I need to be willing to let them go for a greater good if Christ should compel me.

There needs to be a sense of definitive loyalty in my relationship with Christ. Often Christ takes first place in our speech about Him when in reality He is last place in our lives with Him. Many things compete for first place in our lives but Christ demands first place for the follower. Loving Christ doesn’t mean “hating” our family per se, but it does mean loving them less than we love Christ. He is to be the ultimate love of our lives.

There is nothing intrinsically wrong with saying goodbye. However, it can be an excuse to put off the call and command of God. When Christ calls He expects immediate obedience. Living with a sense of loose attachments is what is needed. There are many people who have made “plans” but never followed through because of something else they felt they “needed” to do first. What God expects from His follower first is complete allegiance and obedience. When God calls you then you’d better get up and get going. Otherwise, don’t say you’re ready to do whatever the Lord wants. Have your bags packed and be ready to move… and make plans to keep moving whenever He says, if you want to be a disciple.