Saturday, April 22, 2017

To Serve in Love

Daily Gratitude Year 5- Day 112: Today, I am grateful for opportunities to serve in love.

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. -Galatians 5:13

This scripture is a calling to choose one path or the other. Self-indulgence or humble service. 

One of the most challenging authors and ministers of our day is, without a doubt, Francis Chan. He is remarkably bold, in this era of soft, unoffensive doctrines. Even when he says something that makes me cringe (often with conviction), Francis Chan makes me always makes me think. 

Bottom line... in the end, it is not really about did we offend others with our interpretation of scriptures...but did we make choices that offend God? Did draw circles of inclusion or walls to shut out? Did we seek his face to serve in love? 

In truth, the spirit of correctness is not a fruit of the spirit. If we love with His love... then His Word and His Spirit will take care of any correction, restoration and repair work. 

"How will you answer the King when He says: 
'What did you do with what I gave you?'  - F. Chan

Not "What did you do?" but "What didn't you do for the cause of Christ?" 

This is why he calls us to love above all other responses to His grace poured out... in blood... on the cross. 

My Mama is such a role model of service. She served her parents and siblings in some big ways as a child. Yet, she never told me, but Dad did:  Mama Ina Mae only took what she needed from her paycheck she earned from teaching music at Veronda's Music studio for her needs and gave the rest to her parents to help with household expenses. 

The littlest siblings Helen, Bobby and Kathy needed milk. She often longed for more milk, but the little ones needed milk more. One glass a day for the big kids.  When given the choice to be selfish or pour love, I can honestly say I never saw Mama choose selfish all the time I was growing up. 

Mama served in the church and community wherever there was a need. She loved helping with food pantries, because feeding the hungry was dear to her heart. I don't think she lived with real hunger - but there was not abundance with 7 hungry kids in her house. She was the oldest child. She adjusted her portions so there would be enough for others.  

Sharing any meal is a beautiful way to say "I love you." Eating less so others have enough... I have can learn from that example. 

Our church currently participates in a ministry that gets food into the backpacks of children who might face hunger over the weekend. Hunger happens in every community where there is job loss, limited resources, addiction or neglect. Often, packing the snack packs is a service project for our youth and smaller children. It helps them understand that hunger is not a result of Mom not buying the "right snacks". Hunger means, not having food in the house or food offered. 

To serve one another... humbly... in love, that is the opposite of selfish indulgences. For me, there is always room for growth and improvement. 

The interesting thing about serving in love... it can become addictive. The resources that we often perceive to be our "biggest blessings" don't fulfill us until we learn to share them with a generous spirit. Now, I fully believe in managing resources with wisdom... but when we learn to be a little more whimsical in giving, joy follows.  

Our God is love. He is the source. We cannot run Him dry. It is His essence and... perhaps... it is a part of our soul breath. To breathe, we must inhale and exhale. We can't just take it all in, we must breathe it out, too. 

What shall we do with love today?  It has been too long between verse dissections. 

You, my brothers and sisters... that means all of us
were called... called by Jesus... it is in his "text message".
to be free...  Not bound or burdened, but free!
But do not...  That means don't. 
use your freedom ... To use or misuse? That, is the question.
to indulge the flesh... to please yourself.
; (Semicolon) (means PAUSE and think)
rather, ... instead of, comparatively, preferably  
serve...  to be of service and in service, to present or pour out, to be of use or trustworthy
one another... our neighbors, our community, our family, everyone
humbly... without pride or arrogance, not self-serving, in submission, unpretentious
in...  inclusion, location, or positioned within the limits of (That 's good stuff!)
love...  a benevolent relationship seeking only good for another, tender affection, kinship

Remember, Matthew 25:40:
And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

What shall we do to serve the King of Kings today?

Today, I am grateful for opportunities to serve in love.

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