From Deborah’s song Ed M. takes today’s devotional, Judges 5.23.
It is sad when God is ignored, when people turn a deaf ear, Matthew 23:37. They put other things ahead of the Lord. With calloused disregard, they excuse themselves. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” they ask, Genesis 4:9. As a result, the minority carried the load.
Focus question: Am I part of the inactive majority? If a part of the load-carrying minority, do I perform my work with resentment or bad feelings?
The flame of God’s service, from 2 Timothy 1.6, is the focus of today’s devotional by Ed M. The call must ever be heard. (“Ministry” in today’s religious language has been co-opted by professionals. We are all ministers, only some of us serve in different functions.) God calls all his people to serve his mission. The church is about souls. We must never lose sight of that. We must constantly fan the flames of this privilege of participating with God in the rescue of mankind. Whatever our drawbacks or disadvantages — and Timothy had plenty of them — we are not exempt. No woman or man can run from it and be faithful to the calling.
Focus question: What do I need to do to keep the fire of zeal hot for serving God?
From S.C. Weber: Father, may we be people who are quick to notice the ways in which we can be of special blessing to others. It seems quite easy when it comes to those whom we befriend. We often recognize their need before they express it and find genuine fulfillment in being Your hand extended to them. But You challenge us to go even further in making ourselves available to our enemies with whom it is not natural to provide for their needs. In expressing agapé to those around us we love in spite of what we see or have experienced. May all that we do on behalf of others be an expression of Your heavenly touch extended through Christian human service. It is in Your strength and compassion that we can do that which is unnatural to our human flesh, but natural to our redeemed spirit. Amen.
Your idea of serving or helping may not actually help someone. Make sure, O Soul, that the object of your help feels that he is being helped. What is helpful to one may be an irritation or distraction to another. Sometimes you may have to ask or discover. Be a student of those around you, so that you may help in helpful ways.
O Soul, you are doing a great thing in your daily activities. You make God present in the mundane. You sanctify the routine of life. Each activity, no matter how small, no matter that it is unseen by others, becomes an act of joyful service and spiritual magnitude. So see in each moment and movement of life the Lord’s conveyance toward peace and communion with him. Let the famous have their statues. You have the pillar of God to illumine every hour of every day.
O Soul, plan for eventualities. In an instant, emergencies can happen. Be prepared for changes in your day and your life. Bring the grace and love of God to new circumstances. Accept what comes as a necessary step to using the moment for good. See where the flux of a situation can provide opportunity for service. Step forward in the breach of change. Show the way of faith to those who are caught in the doubt of tragedy. Assure yourself and others of God’s goodness, regardless of the suffering. Be the presence of God when others question it.
Friends know I’m not a fan of the word leadership. In spite that that, Ed’s full devotional thought for today merits close reading. It hits home.
Moses was a “servant,” Numbers 11:11; Joshua 1:2,7,13,15b; Hebrews 3:5. Every Church leader is a servant. Their job is to copy the Master. The burden of guiding belongs to God. The task of following belongs to man. The Lord commissions the work, II Corinthians 5:18,19. He also provides the competence to lead, II Corinthians 3:5. Still, we can be certain, the task will be challenging. Courage will be needed. Trials will come. Decisions must be made. Discipline will be necessary. And doubt will hover nearby in all situations.
Focus question: How to urge people to follow the Lord and obey the will of God without compulsion, force, or manipulation?
Napolean Hill wrote, “It’s easy to find fault with any job. Whatever your occupation or profession, there are always some unpleasant and mundane tasks you would rather omit. It is also easy to allow the things you dislike to dominate your thoughts and for you to overlook the fact that the things you dislike about your work are really a very small percentage of the overall job. Make it a point to find something good in your job every day. It need not be a big, important event; simply finding joy in doing one thing particularly well will suffice. Then, instead of looking forward to the end of the day, you will find yourself actually looking forward to going to work.”
The saint has it even easier. He sees his job as another place and point in time for serving the Lord. The more difficult the work climate, the more his light is needed. The joy he knows in the Lord is needed by everyone around him. He seeks opportunities to share the presence of God. His is no superficial, candied faith that sickens those around him, but a profound settledness in the Lord that draws people to him. If a slave of the first century could joyfully serve the Lord in the hardest conditions, certainly we today can see our jobs as something much more, as a channel of grace to a needy world.
Either pilot or passenger. Somebody said that in life you’re one or the other. Your choice. Maybe better to say that God is the Pilot of this world, and his people are the flight attendants that serve others and seek to lead them to the Lord. So there’s a third class besides pilot or passenger, and that is the one we choose.