Tag Archive for serving Christ

Catch Me Up in Your Work

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” (Luke 1:38, NIV)

I want to do something important–
important to You and
important to those You love.
it doesn’t have to feel important right now.

But I want to be
caught up in You and in Your work–
not what my interests
assume to be Your work,
or what I want to be Your work,
but what is Your work.
It doesn’t matter how small it seems,
or how overwhelming.

Lord, catch me up in the need,
not just in my own little task.
My efforts are partial and passing.
The need is bigger.
The need will go on.

I look to You.
Move me by Your Spirit.
Move me with Your heart today.
Catch me up in Your work.

Father, I feel pressured by
a mounting list of things I need to do,
but only this is important:
to do what You want me to do,
the way You want me to do it.

Hymn: I Am Your Servant

Each of Us Is a Gift of Grace

To each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. . . . It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:7, 11-13, NIV)

Read the following passage about God’s judgment on His disobedient people, and imagine yourself living through this situation:

See now, the Lord, the Lord Almighty, is about to take from Jerusalem and Judah both supply and support . . . the hero and warrior, the judge and prophet, the soothsayer and elder, the captain of fifty and man of rank, the counselor, skilled craftsman and clever enchanter. I will make boys their officials; mere children will govern them. People will oppress each other–man against man, neighbor against neighbor. The young will rise up against the old, the base against the honorable. (Isaiah 3:1-5, NIV)

Imagine any society with all its skilled people taken away: no leaders, no teachers, no doctors or dentists, no repair people or builders, no police officers or soldiers, no writers or performers, no cooks or crafts people or specialists of any kind.

Imagine a church with all its skills and talents gone.

That makes us realize how dependent we are on such gifts from God. It helps us see His grace reaching out through society, providing for our every need while drawing us together as a people. God is our complete support. We are totally dependent on Him for everything.

What do you have that you did not receive? (1 Corinthians 4:7, NIV)

But He has also made us dependent on each other. The gifts that you have been given – material goods, abilities, or even inclinations – are not gifts to you but are God’s gifts to His people through you.

In Ephesians chapters 1 and 2, we hear about God’s great grace poured out through Jesus. In chapter 3 Paul talks about himself as a vessel of God’s grace. But here in Ephesians 4 he says that God pours out His goodness and love through each of us. He is pouring out His provision through you. He has entrusted a portion of His grace to you.

You are part of a beautiful pattern, like the waterways of the earth or the blood vessels of the body, bringing God’s life to every corner of our world, meeting every human need. And He is using human hands. He is using your hands!

Praise to our all-wise God for His goodness! Praise Him for teaching us the blessings of unity!

Each of us is the steward of a gift
designed to glorify God,
to show those around us
how good and loving He is.
what a beautiful picture of God we could paint!

Hymn: Through Me

Other People’s Children

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
(Galatians 6:2, NIV)

As our children grow and leave home, we have less and less daily influence on them. They develop their own routines, relationships, and obligations. They face their own problems and temptations.

They will need positive influences in their lives. And for the most part, those influences will no longer be us.

As we face that emotionally, we pray that someone out there will befriend our children – someone who will care about them and be that influence that they’ll need and that we can’t be.

All around you every day are other people’s children. Somewhere, someone cares. Someone is probably praying. Will you be that friend they’re praying for?

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Lord, Keep Us Reaching
Printed Music & Lyrics

Do You Want to Make a Difference?

Years ago I went to a prayer seminar taught by my mentor and close friend, Dr. Morris Weigelt. He asked the group of us to recall the people in our lives who had influenced us the most. Names filled the chalkboard as we fondly recalled a wide range of people who had made a lasting impact on our lives.

Then he asked us why these people had been so influential. What was it about them that left such a deep and permanent effect on us? Again, the chalkboard was filled with reasons.

When they had all had been listed, we looked at them as a whole. To my surprise, there was not a single “professional” ability on the board. No one had been considered influential because they were intelligent or talented or specially capable in some way.

Why had the long and varied list of people been so influential in our lives? All the reasons boiled down to only one: we had each been the most deeply influenced by the persons who had cared about us, who had taken a personal interest in us. The people who changed us most profoundly were those who made us feel valued, respected, and loved. It was the people who had cared about us, not just in word, but by giving of themselves actively, personally, individually, unselfishly. They had said to us by their actions, “You are special! I believe in You!” And because they said it with their actions, we believed them.

Do you want to make a difference? Do you want to have a lasting impact on some person’s life, and therefore on our world as a whole? Go out of your way to give someone your personal attention. Love – active, sincere, sacrificial love – is still the greatest force for bringing change, blessing, joy, and new life to our world. If you want to make an investment that will pay off, invest yourself in people. Invest yourself in love.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God…God is love. (1 John 4:7-8, NASB) 

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Touch a Life through Me
Printed Music & Lyrics

Personal Service to Jesus

Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine,
you did for me. (Matthew 25:40, NIV)

Imagine: you come home weary from a long day at work. You’re settling into your recliner, and just then the doorbell rings. It’s Jesus. There He stands, tired and hungry.

Wouldn’t it be great to serve Him? Get Him something to drink; prop up His feet; fix Him supper. Your tiredness would be gone. Those simple services would be the greatest joys of your entire life.

Jesus isn’t likely to show up at our door. But we’re surrounded by needy people. Jesus says that whatever we do for them, we’re doing for Him. So:

Whatever you do,
do it as for the Lord,
not for people.
It is Jesus Christ you are serving.
(Colossians 3:23-24, para.)

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Listen to Love
Printed Music & Lyrics

Only a Seed

What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe – as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. (1 Corinthians 3:5-7, NIV)

We dream of building empires. We like to think of ourselves as becoming strong oaks, or perhaps lush, glorious gardens of accomplishment.

But we lose sight of our smallness. We are only one tiny part of a people that together – and only together – are a holy temple, a fruitful vine.

My accomplishments will not be an empire, an oak, or a garden – only a seed. But God will make that seed grow. In His time it will take root. It will blossom and flower and produce fruit. And in that fruit will be more seeds. Some will fall nearby; others will be carried far away. God’s garden will grow richer and broader, spreading out into all eternity.

My Lord and Savior, deliver me from an exaggerated image of my importance as Your servant, no matter what part I am assigned in Your work. Deliver me from the hope that I will be honored above others. I only want to be one with You and one with Your people.

Thank You, Lord God, for the beauty of Your truth, for the beauty of living and growing in You. You are wonderful!

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Touch a Life through Me
Printed Music & Lyrics

Biscuits and Fish

When it was evening, the disciples came to Him and said, “This place is desolate and the hour is already late; so send the crowds away, that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” 

But Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go away; you give them something to eat!” 

They said to Him, “We have here only five loaves and two fish.” 

And He said, “Bring them here to Me.” Ordering the people to sit down on the grass, He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up toward heaven, He blessed the food, and breaking the loaves He gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. (Matthew 14:15-19, NASB)

Father, You have shown me needy people.
There they are, spread out before me.
I see the need.
I feel the need.
It is very real.

I hold something that I believe could help.
But it is so small,
and I am so small.
I don’t know how to get this to them.
I don’t know how to begin to use it in any meaningful way.

So I bring it to You, Father –
just biscuits and fish.
Use it.
Use me.
I am small,
but You encompass all that is.
I am ignorant,
but Your knowing is perfect.
Your loving is perfect.

Father, I am available.
Show me where to start.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Bless This Seed
Printed Music & Lyrics

You Did It for Me

The picture that Jesus paints is a sobering one. When He returns to earth in all His glory, He will gather before Him all our race. Then He will separate us. Some will be blessed and welcomed into a beautiful kingdom prepared for them by their loving Father. Others will be cursed and sent away from God into eternal fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.

What will be the standard for this separation? Simply this: how we responded to Jesus Christ here in this life; specifically, how we treated Him when we met Him in the needy around us.

We will answer to Jesus face to face, with our hearts and lives laid bare. In that moment our acts and our omissions will be seen for what they are: our personal response to the living, ever-present Jesus Christ.

That moment is a certain future for each of us. How should we prepare? Surrounded by need, how can we live up to such a standard?

What He wants for us is very simple: live in His presence now. Make Him the center of life now, as you will see Him to be in that moment. Your love for Him will grow. And as you love Him, you will love those He loves.

If we claim to love Him but live to please ourselves, ignoring the needs of His dear ones all around us, our love will be shown to be a lie. 1 John 3:17 (NIV) says: 

If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?

Lord Jesus, help us to see You in the faces of the needy all around us. As we love each little one, we are loving You.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: When I Face You, Lord
Printed Music & Lyrics