Servanthood

Doing the big or little things for people is not just serving them, but ultimately it’s serving God.

“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, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'”

Matthew 25:37-40

Servanthood in Christ

I can be self righteous thinking my words on a blog or my voice on a podcast is much greater in the Kingdom than simply wiping my child’s bum.

Servanthood looks like loving the least. If you only serve to gain recognition then it’s more like selfish-hood not servanthood. I want to serve out of my love for Jesus because that’s where the blessing is.

Jesus Washes the Disciples Feet

“When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” He asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord’, and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.”

John 13:12-17

Holy Servanthood

There is no such thing as a great man of God, only weak, pitiful, faithless men of a great and merciful God.” – Paul Washer

The more I understand how Christ served people the more I understand His love for them. “I did not come to call the [self-proclaimed] righteous [who see no need to repent], but sinners to repentance [to change their old way of thinking, to turn from sin and to seek God and His righteousness]” (Luke 5:32 amp). The more I accept my weakness the more I am drawn to God’s love.

When I understand God’s love, I feel loved, and when I feel loved I show love. Loving others despite how we feel about them, their circumstances or their belief systems. We can do this by seeing their need and asking God, is it I to meet that need for them today? If so, God show me how. As it’s through your love for me that allows me to show love for others.

Pray to be a good servant

Dear Jesus,
How difficult it is to simply serve others without judgment. Help me to learn to serve with a clean heart and with your loving lens. I need to see people – my family, neighbours, friends, community – the way you see them. Help me to meet the need of my own child. She has many needs. Too many to count. Help me to not see those needs as insignificant but as significant to serving your Kingdom. As your Word says, “whatever you did not for one of the least of these, you did not do for me” (Matthew 40:45). I repent of my need to be seen by others in order to serve. To be praised, admired or acknowledged by man rather than by you. For freedom comes from Christ alone and not by the approval of man (Galatians 1:10).
Amen

God is Merciful

God is merciful – saving us even when we least expect it or don’t expect it at all. How quick we are to forget the blessings of God or ignore God’s hand over our lives when we fear our circumstance.

In Egypt, Pharaoh finally set the Israelites free from slavery due to the power and mercy of God through Moses and the ten plagues. They left Egypt to pursue their freedom. Upon their journey God shared with Moses His plan to rescue them once again. The Lord told Moses to lead the people of Israel through the wilderness to reach the sea. As their pursuit for freedom was not finished. Pharaoh and his hosts are coming after them. However, the Lord assured Moses that He would win over Pharaoh.

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Tell the people of Israel to turn back and encamp in front of Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, in front of Baal-zephon; you shall encamp facing it, by the sea. For Pharaoh will say of the people of Israel, ‘They are wandering in the land; the wilderness has shut them in.’  And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, and the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord.” And they did so.

Exodus 14:1-4

In this passage we see God sharing His plan with Moses. The Egyptians are on their way to pursue and bring back the Israelites as slaves. But the Lord will have glory over Pharaoh and save the Israelites. This is all the information we get. No details as to how God will save them at the sea, just that He will. This is when I think of times when God gives me a plan without much detail. I know I have to trust Him anyway. But the Israelites were scared and lacked any trust! Once they saw the masses of angry Egyptians on their trail they trembled in fear. I would too if I was led through the wilderness and to the sea without a Noah-built-size-arc waiting for me.

The Israelites’ circumstantial fear trump their fear in the Lord.

The Israelites cried out to God and to Moses. They said, “is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us in bringing us out of Egypt? (Exodus 14:11)”. The Israelites’ fear in their circumstance overshadowed their fear in the Lord. Even though the Lord said He will get glory over Pharaoh. The Israelites are viewing their circumstances without reference to the fact that the Lord brought them there.

Trust in God for He is merciful to see His plans through.

God rarely gives us details of how His plans will unfold. But that doesn’t mean we stop trusting Him. The Israelites had proof already of God saving them through the signs and wonders that brought them out of Egypt. Yet, they chose to ignore those signs and feared their current circumstance instead. They were given plenty of good reasons to believe God would save them. How quick we are to forget the blessing we’ve already received.

Crossing the Red Sea – How God Saved the Israelites.

In the next few verses to follow, Exodus 14: 15-18, the Lord again reassures the Israelites. He repeats to them that He will get glory over Pharaoh, “and the Egyptians shall know that I am Lord“. The rest of chapter 14 explains the miraculous power of God controlling the red sea by splitting it half. So the Israelites have dry ground on the sea bed floor to walk through. The lord then closes the sea once all the Egyptians have entered, sweeping them up, not one remained. Then in Exodus chapter 15 the Israelites sing a song to the Lord in praise and worship! They have been saved and finally set free!

God is Merciful

God shares His plans but leaves out the details – not to harm us but to protect us. We learned about the Israelites’ fear in their circumstances and not in the Lord. I want to be more fearful of the Lord that my first response is to thank God for His plans not to doubt Him because of my circumstances. Through all the fear and doubt swarming over the Israelites, God’s plan to save them still prevails. He rescues them by parting the Red Sea and destroying their enemy. God is merciful. His ways are higher than our ways, His thoughts higher than our thoughts, and His plans higher than our plans! We just need to trust Him.

 Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the Lord, saying,
“I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously;
    the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea.
The Lord is my strength and my song,
    and he has become my salvation;
this is my God, and I will praise him,
    my father’s God, and I will exalt him.

Exodus 15:1-2

God Hears You

Despite the shame we feel from our sin, God hears, forgives and He saves. Through the sacrifice of Jesus we no longer are in slaved by our sin. But we can be free in Christ who saved us. I want to be close enough to God that I believe He hears me. So whatever I am going through I choose to seek Him first. For He is the living water my soul quenches.

God hears Abraham – Genesis 21:8-14

Sarah ordered her servant woman, Hagar, to lay with her husband, Abraham, to bore them a child. Since she was barren and unable to give birth herself. This led to the birth of Ishmael – name meaning: “God hears”. However, years passed, and God blessed Sarah and she bore her own son, Issac. One day when Abraham was honouring the wean of Issac (2-3 years old) with a big feast, Sarah caught Ishmael (12-14 yrs old) mocking the service. This made Sarah so furious she wanted both Ishmael and Hagar cast out of the home and into the wilderness! Clearly there had been some pent up jealousy and anger over the years…

But Abraham was not pleased with this idea until God spoke to him. God reassured Abraham that it would be okay and to do whatever Sarah wanted. For He would make great nations from both boys, Issac and Ishmael as they were both Abraham’s sons.

But God said to Abraham,
“Be not displeased because of the boy and because of your slave woman. Whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for through Isaac shall your offspring be named. And I will make a nation of the son of the slave woman also, because he is your offspring. So Abraham rose early in the morning and took bread and a skin of water and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, along with the child, and sent her away. And she departed and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba.

Genesis 21:12-14

God saves Hagar and Ishmael from the wilderness – Genesis 8:15-21

During their journey Hagar’s water skins run dry and panic sets in as they’re about to die. Then, God hears the boy’s cry and sends an angel to help…

And God heard the voice of the boy, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is. Up! Lift up the boy, and hold him fast with your hand, for I will make him into a great nation.” Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. And she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink.

Genesis 21:17-19

God is still attentive to Ishmael and Hagar even though it was Ishmael’s disrespectful behaviour that got them kicked out. Keeping His promise to Abraham, God forgives and displays His heart through saving their lives by providing a well of water. This reminds me of Jesus who is referred many times in the Bible as the “living water”, who came to save.

Jesus hears the Samaritan woman.

Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

John 4:13-14

In John chapter four we see Jesus asking (an immoral) Samaritan woman for water by the well. This is out of the norm in this day as traditionally and culturally Jews saw Samaritans as “unclean”. Yet, Jesus begins to show His power by telling her that He knows her. He tells her that she had five different husbands and now is living with a man that is not her husband. There is no way a random Jewish man would know this information if He wasn’t God. The Samaritan woman starts to believe that this man is the Messiah – son of God. Jesus tells her about “living water” which is Him, and that if she would drink water He gives she will never thirst again.

Jesus is the Living Water.

What does it mean to seek Jesus and believe in Him as the living water? It means an eternal satisfaction that no human can produce on their own. Its a gift from God to let go of our sinful ways and to let in His dwelling presence. To say, “I DO”, to Jesus first and foremost. That whatever I do, choose, enjoy, think about will honour that commitment. So my thirst my soul quenches will truly be satisfied once and for all.

The Lord listens the cry of His people.

Both Hagar and the Samaritan woman were saved by water. God sent Hagar a well of water to drink from, saving her from her immediate death. Jesus saved the Samaritan woman as the living water to save her from her eternal death. The connection is God’s redeeming power. Saving us from own destruction despite our sin.

Prayer

Dear Jesus, thank you for being the living water the dwells within my soul. So, my life is not dependant on my own strength or perfection but based upon your loving grace for me.

And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.

1 John 5:14-15

First Love

Ephesus separates deeds from love: Revelation 2:1-5

To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands. I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.

Revelation 2:1-5

The book of Revelation

Revelation is a hard book in itself to explain as there are many symbols to unpack. For example, in this passage the word “lampstands” refers to a Christian church. The author of this book is the Apostle John who receives a very symbolic vision from Jesus. In this vision Jesus warns 7 different churches. I want to highlight his first warning to the church of Ephesus.

The warning to the church of Ephesus

Jesus commends the church of Ephesus on their good deeds, perseverance, work ethic and endurance. Yet, in verse four, His warning is that they’ve abandoned their love they once had for Christ. The kind of love Jesus refers to is the Greek word, Agape. Agape is the meaning of the highest form of love; love for God and his Son (Jesus), for Gods people, each other and even enemies. Jesus then tells the church to repent because they cannot have good deeds without love (agape).

Good deeds and love must work together – you cannot have one without the other

In writing this I find myself relating to the church in Ephesus. I could easily be writing, and recording from selfish reasons, treating it as a good deed or a task to check off the list. Doing “good deeds” will have a positive effect on peoples lives regardless of motives, but to what end? I want my writing to flow from a place of love for God, so people can experience His love through it. Let’s face it, I ain’t much of a writer, but I am a lover of Jesus. I am devoted to writing because it keeps me accountable to learning God’s word. This increased knowledge of Him returns in me loving Him more!

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.

2 Peter 3:18

Good deeds are a natural outpouring from your love of Christ

Just like the Ephesus church we can take our first love for granted. We are all guilty of sin and we tend to judge ourselves and each other about how ‘good’ we appear. But only God knows man’s heart (Proverbs 21:2). Good deeds don’t earn us eternal life, Jesus paid for our sins on the cross. His blood for our sins. I thank God that my faith is not based upon what I can do but based on what Christ has already done. I have a freedom in him despite my sin and imperfections. Staying true to learning Gods word will help us refocus our hearts back to that first love.

Remember who He is in you, reflect on the cross, repent of your sin, and love Him first because He first loved us.

We love because he first loved us

1 John 4:19

The Embrace of Jesus

Open arms I am embraced by the King
Wrapped in a blanket – is the warmth I feel
Comforted and secured, I walk in peace
Vulnerable yet, I am put at ease
Completely safe and okay to be me
In His arms is the place where I am free
He died on the cross so all was not lost
Saved by the love of the one living God.

He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.”

Isaiah 40:11