Last night I was our ladies Bible study and the topic was of service. Last week we began our discussion and then practiced it and this week was follow up. It was a great meeting... I felt like many were very open and honest and it wasn't just a bunch of what I like to call... 'sunday school answers or prayers for great Aunt Bertha's big toe.' (LOL)
I really enjoyed learning about the 'how's' of service and how that develops our character and strengthens our relationship with the Lord. We're often told that we need to serve but there's so much more to service than just doing it.
Matthew 5:13-16 tells us we are the light of the world but exactly how do you live as that light? How do you shine so that other's see Christ in your life? Mike and I always make an effort to acknowledge everyone but especially those that get looked down upon here. I try very hard to always have a smile on my face. But I know I'm not doing enough.. and it's good to know that people shouldn't just see my works of service but they should see Jesus through them. Gives me a new attitude in how I should be serving.
Galatians 5:13-1 tells us that we have been called to live in freedom and that we are to use that freedom to serve one another. freedom in Christ is sometimes a hard thing to understand and explain but in regards to serving others I think it's saying that we need to serve in any possible way. There aren't a list of things we should or should not be doing... we are free to serve in whatever is before us.
Galatians 6:9-10 tells us not to get 'tired' of doing good. It's easy to get focused on ourselves and tired of serving others... especially if it seems that no one is appreciating our service but God says that at the 'right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don't give up' and to me... that's motivation enough to keep pressing on. Who would want to pass up a blessing from the Lord or see God work in those you are serving? On the other end.. we shouldn't be serving for what we get in return but I think it does help to know that whether or not our service is seen or appreciated... God sees it all, knows our hearts behind it... so we need to be faithful in doing what He has called us to do.
Ephesians 6:7-8 tells us to work with enthusiasm. Yikes.. that one was a hard one for me. We discussed a lot about how hard it can be to enthusiastically serve our families day in and day out.. . but those are God's words. We shouldn't begrudgingly serve others. As Sharon said... (jokingly but with a point) 'We might as well cross that service off the list of rewards from God' if it was done begrudgingly. That's not how God wants us to serve. On of my biggest struggles is to be joyful in serving Isabella when she's cranky and won't sleep but I really prayed hard for a better attitude and after this study... I've been able to stop, breathe, and pray before responding with frustration... seems like common sense but I really had a hard time dealing with my frustration and not thinking of praying a quick prayer.
1 Peter :10-11 says that God has given us gifts and we are to use those to serve others. That means we have to be aware of gifts and willing to use them and on top of that... be able to balance serving with our gifts and the other things that the Lord calls us to. This one seems so common sense to me... use your gifts, bless others by your gifts... but yet how many churches struggle with the 20/80 principle... 20% of the people do 80% of the work. I don't understand this... other than 'I'm too busy.' I think everyone has a million things to do so to me... I figure there must be something else.. but have no idea what. Please enlighten me. :)
And the final thought comes from revelation 5:9-10 which talks about 'priestly' service and we decided that this meant God calls us to be a go between... we are to go to God on peoples behalf and go to people on God's behalf. On even simplier terms, we are to pray for others and to witness. This idea of a 'go-between' was a new perspective for me and I love thinking of it in this way. What an honor it is to think of life this way... 'a go-between.'
This study was fantastic. It has given me a new heart for service.. and a new attitude towards it. I know I'm not perfect and will still deal with 'weariness, lack of enthusiasm, not being a light, etc...' but knowing that God provides the strength, gives us the energy it's easier to believe that I can make the choice to ask for God's help and not do it on my own.