"If I could give you information of my life, it would be to show how a woman of very ordinary ability has been led by God in strange and unaccustomed paths to do His service what He has done in her. And if I could tell you all, you would see how God has done all, and I nothing. —Florence Nightingale
The end of the first sentence seems like something is missing, but the thought is there.
"Professionalizing the staff depersonalized the care."
The above quote was said about mental health care in the 20th Century. The same can be said about ministry in the church. There is much that can be said biblically against clergyizing God's servants. At the same time, in practical terms, when spiritual service becomes a career, the "care" of others, or dedication to the work of God, is redirected to furthering one's prospects of professional development and monetary gain. It cannot otherwise be so. A whole industry arises to perpetuate the professional class and cater to their needs.
Good comments by Gary Hampton on Rev 1.1-3, among them, these:
This vision was delivered by heavenly messenger to John, who simply identifies himself as the Lord"s slave. Once, he had wanted more for himself (Mark 10:35-40), but now he had seen the Lord submit and serve others (Philippians 2:5-8; Matthew 20:20-28) and was following his lead.
I'm blessed to count Gary as a friend.
You say you want to be like Christ. You ask Him to print His own image on your heart. Here, then is the image! It is no vague dream of perfection that we are to think of–when we ask to be made like Christ. The Catholic monks thought that they were becoming like Christ–when they went into the wilderness, away from men, to live in cold cells. But that is not what this picture suggests. “To serve“–that is the Christlike thing! Instead of fleeing away from the world–we are to live among men, to serve them, to seek to bless them, to do them good, to give our life for them! —J.R. Miller
Focus question: Who can I serve today? What can I do to serve someone? Can I ask someone else what I can I do to serve them?
God above who came below, show me a need that cries for fulfillment, a person who is not being served, that I might be that servant.
Please download the PDF of Ed Mathews's free devotional book, Plow New Ground. Today's meditation alone is worth the effort, based on 2 Cor 2.14. Among other things, Ed writes,
Messenger of God. As a captive in the victory procession of God, Paul spread everywhere the message of redemption, II Corinthians 2:14. The Lord made His intentions known through His surrendered servant, Colossians 1:25. Paul was not fickle. He was faithful. He followed the drum beat of heaven. He was “sent from God,” II Corinthians 2:17b. He went when the Lord called. He did what the Lord commanded. His life was not his own. It belonged to God. Consequently, Paul could rightly say, “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me,” Galatians 2:20.
People read so many flawed denominational materials — hey, we have far superior writings and true teaching in many brotherhood material, like this one.
Christian live to serve, in quiet trust,
As humble stewards, because, in Christ, we must;
Our common, simple tasks, at every hour,
As best we can, contain redemptive power.
- Inspired from the quote published earlier from Ed Mathews's devotional. Please share this with your friends.
Christians live to serve. We do so in quiet trust and humble obedience. We discharge our responsibility in common places and in simple tasks with redemptive power. We do what we can, II Corinthians 8:12.
So wrote Ed M., in today's devotional, in his work, "Plow New Ground," with 1 Cor 4.1 as main text.
Focus question: What can you do, right now, to serve God and point others to Christ?
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?