Seek First ...

Over the past two weeks we’ve been challenged to participate in the Lord’s commission to us as His disciples—to make Christ-like disciples in all nations. At its most basic level, this call involves serving God through serving others, in the manner of Jesus. This week’s scriptures and reflections center on serving God in our daily lives.

Monday – Joshua 24.14-15. In the last recorded address of Joshua, he affirmed an important reality. We have been given the power and responsibility to choose to serve God, or not. “It is within my power either to serve God or not to serve Him. Serving Him, I add to my own good and the good of the whole world. Not serving Him, I forfeit my own good and derive the world of that good, which was in my power to create” (Leo Tolstoy). Is God inviting you to a new level or area of service? Is God asking you to allow him to stretch you in a new way?

Tuesday – Matthew 25.34-40. Can we love God without serving others? “One of the principal roles of religion (faith) is, to lose no occasion to serve God, and since He is invisible to our eyes, we are to serve Him in our neighbor, which He receives as if done to Himself in person, standing visibly before us” (John Wesley). Today, let your service to another be as though you are doing it to Jesus. Spend time before the start of your day thinking of how Christ Jesus has served you. As you encounter individuals today, see the encounter as a means of serving Jesus.

Wednesday – 1 Corinthians 13.1-7. Mother Teresa would say, “If you can’t do great things, do little things with great love. If you can’t do them with great love, do them with a little love. If you can’t do them with a little love, do them anyway. Love grows when people serve.” The goal of our service should be that love for God grows, both in the one served and in the server.

Thursday – Ephesians 1.15-19. There likely may be seasons in our lives where we find ourselves restricted from serving to the degree we’d like. Maybe it will be due to a newborn child, advanced age, illness, or in those seasons where we are so busy that our time is limited. Even then, we can serve by praying diligently and fervently for others, as Paul did when he was imprisoned. “They also serve who only stand and wait. Some of God’s greatest workers are those shut out from active service, that they may learn to use the greatest weapon of all—prayer” (Streams in the Desert).

Friday – 2 Corinthians 9.10-15. “Do you often feel like parched ground, unable to produce anything worthwhile? I do. When I am in need of refreshment, it isn’t easy to think of the needs of others. But, I have found that if, instead of praying for my own comfort and satisfaction, I ask the Lord to enable me to give to others, an amazing thing often happens. I find my own needs wonderfully met. Refreshment comes in ways I would have never thought of, both for others, and incidentally, for myself” (Elizabeth Elliot, missionary, author).

Saturday – Ephesians 2.4-10. Wondering what you were created for? This much-cherished passage celebrates salvation through God’s mercy and grace, by faith. As a result, what is to become the focus of our living? To serve God by doing good for others, mirroring God’s character and love in the way we treat others is our purpose now that we’ve been redeemed. Among our families, in our neighborhoods, at our places of work, or in a different culture, we can allow God to direct us to opportunities to serve in the manner of Jesus.