Somewhere between Jesus’ call to go serve and make disciples in all the world and last Sunday’s church service, something somewhat odd and extremely troubling has occurred. We have taken Jesus’ words, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” and we’ve edited them to say this…
“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and you will talk about and pray for Judea and Samaria, and you will occasionally think about the ends of the earth.”
As I write this, I’m in Cincinnati preparing to go out tomorrow painting and serving families in this community. A few weeks ago, I was in Joplin, MO clearing debris and serving families who’d been through the horrific tornado. A year ago, I was in Seattle, WA working to restore a home for a formerly homeless family. The year before that, I was in Costa Rica, preaching and working with teenagers and young adults. The list could go on and on…
I love going and serving people I’ve never met in communities I’ve never seen. But I dread the inevitable comments that come before I leave. As I’m building a team and raising funds and gathering prayer support, I hear the same comment over and over again in a variety of ways… “Have fun over there, but don’t forget there are people here who need help too.” Or, “After you get done with your trip, make sure you serve our seniors here.” Or, my least favorite, “I just don’t understand why you take people and money away from our community.”
I dread those comments because I also love serving the community I live in… I look forward to helping our local school district. I love assisting our local Helping Hands. I can’t wait to help with the Baptist Church’s monthly food distribution. I mark my calendar for our Servolution weekends. I make time to visit and serve seniors in our community.
Who do you look forward to serving? While not everyone is meant to go off to far-away places, some thrive in that environment. The body of Christ – the Church – is this amazingly beautiful, talented, intricate machine where everyone has a slighty different, slightly unique call and purpose but we all have the same mission.
We were made to be living sacrifices of worship, pouring ourselves out in service so that an unbelieving world would find something – Someone – to believe in.
So, the question is… Do you spend more time serving your neighbors, both near and far, or do you find yourself increasingly more frustrated that you’re not receiving the help you deserve, the help you see going to people in places like Cincinnati, Seattle, Joplin and Costa Rica?
If you’re going to change your world, you first have to change your mind…
Humility leads to serving and serving is how the Kingdom grows.
But entitlement leads to bitterness and bitterness is how Satan wins.