"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Monday, July 20, 2009

Serving through Giving and Forgiveness

Today I started reading a book Improving Your Serve by Charles Swindoll which is based on Mark 10:45 and concerns "the art of unselfish living."

"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."

According to Jesus, the greatest in God's kingdom is the one who serves others (Matthew 20:25-28). And according to the verse above, Jesus came not so others could dote over Him, but to serve and to give!

The author included this quote from Wilbur Rees.

"I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please - not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep, but just enough to equal a cup of warm milk or a snooze in the sunshine. I don't want enough of him to make me love a foreigner or pick beets with a migrant worker. I want ecstasy, not transformation. ..."

So many of us want enough of God so that we feel good ... God's got our back, He's there for us when troubles come. But we don't want the challenging part, the most eternally-rewarding part of following Jesus -- serving others.

One of the first chapters in this book deals with "the servant as a giver." There were a few quotes that stood out to me that I wanted to write here in order to review sometime.

"I willingly release my way this day. Lord, show me how You would respond to others, then make it happen in me." coupled with a reminder of Galatians 5:13 which stood out to me as I really read these words: "You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love." (pg. 40)

Oh to have the eyes of Christ and respond to others as HE would! I wonder if I prayed that if He would do that in me! If I had His eyes of compassion, I would be moved to help others. Remember reading about Jesus being moved with compassion (Mark 1:41)? And how interesting to see that, yes, I was given freedom, but not so I can do whatever I want. My flesh rarely wants to serve others out of love!

This next part really challenged me because quite often I am more willing to give money to help than actually take the time to help meet needs. I don't like to be inconvenienced or like to mess up my schedule. So when I read this, I was greatly convicted:

"It is impossible to give ourselves to others at arm's length or in absentia. Personal involvement is essential, not incidental, and it usually involves adapting our ways and schedules to fit into other's needs. . . . [Being] a person who genuinely and personally gives to others calls for a plentiful supply of flexibility. . . . Authentic servanthood calls for people with a passion for giving whatever without recognition, without reservation, without reluctance, and without restriction. And those types are rare indeed!" (pg. 47-48)

A reminder from pg. 53 - "We are never more like God than when we give."

"God so loved the world, that He gave. . . . "

In the chapter on "the servant as a forgiver," Dr. Swindoll writes: "[It's] God's forgiveness of us that makes possible our forgiving others." (pg. 57)

King David knew the awesomeness of God's forgiveness and penned these words:

Psalms 103

Praise the LORD, O my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.

2 Praise the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits-

3 who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,

4 who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,

5 who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.

. . .

10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.

11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;

12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

I'm sure I'll share more later so check back if you are interested.

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