Have you ever read a phrase or a verse from the Bible, and you know you've definitely read it before, but somehow it just hits you in a totally different way? And you find yourself thinking, how have I never noticed that before?
I would guess this kind of thing happens to many of us, and I suppose it's part of being human in a way. The same thing could happen when you are passing by a tree that you've always passed by. But somehow THIS time, the vibrant color of the bright green leaves seems more beautiful than you ever realized before. Or maybe the shape of the tree trunk with all its knobs and gnarls sweeps you away into what feels like a fairy tale that is both familiar and new all at the same time.
There is a sentence in the book of Colossians that once had a similar effect on me. I was sure I had read it before, and perhaps even memorized it, but this time it had a way of stopping me in my tracks. Here's the sentence...
"It is the Lord Christ you are serving." (Colossians 3:24)
It was like my mind went, wait a minute... could this possibly apply to every time I serve? The beginning of the previous sentence might help answer that question. Verse 23 begins by saying "Whatever you do..."
If I consider how this plays out on a typical day, it seems like it has the potential to change everything. Right now, as I'm writing out thoughts to share, it's Jesus I'm serving. When I am cleaning up the kitchen for my family, it's Jesus I'm serving. When I drive my kids to school or pick them up at the bus stop, it's Jesus I'm serving. Every moment of every day, from the big things to the multitude of little things, it's Jesus I'm serving.
There is a story in one of my favorite devotional books (Daily Splashes of Joy by Barbara Johnson) that helps me more deeply understand this message.
"Dear Esther," the letter said, "I'll be passing through the area Saturday and would like to visit. Love always, Jesus."
Saturday? Why, that's today! Esther's hands shook with excitement as she checked her pocketbook - nothing but a five-dollar bill. She rushed out to buy sandwich fixings. As she came out of the store, a homeless couple stopped her. "Lady, could you help us?"
"I'd like to, but I'm in a hurry," she called over her shoulder. Then she turned around. "Here, take this sandwich stuff. I've got a can of soup at home I can serve my guest." Then she noticed the woman was shivering in the cold. "I've got another jacket at home," she said, pulling her arms out of the sleeves. "You take this one."
"Thank you, lady!" the poor couple called as the woman hurried on. When she got home a note was stuck in her door. "Dear Esther," it said. "So good to see you again. Thanks for the delicious sandwiches. And the coat is beautiful. Love always, Jesus."
What strikes me - besides again the power of how when we serve people we're actually serving Jesus - is that it's quite possible that I often mix up the opportunities I think are important ones from God with those that seem like they don't really matter. How often do I stress myself out trying to "get the meal ready for Jesus", feeling frustrated by that child who fell and hurt his/her knee and needs a band-aid is keeping me from doing the serving I'm supposed to be doing, not realizing that Jesus Himself is the hurt child?
"It is the Lord Christ you are serving." And we're serving Him no matter how holy or mundane or extraordinary or small our current tasks may feel.
But what about those times when we feel we have nothing left to give? Like, let's say for example, when we're in the final weeks of a school year like none we've ever had before? How do we keep finding the strength to keep serving? Whether it's Jesus we're serving or not, sometimes it's just hard.
Maybe in those moments, it's good to remember that it is not only Jesus who we're serving, but it's also Jesus who is within us and promises never to leave or forsake us. He can work not just through our acts of service but also through our very weakest moments.
Wherever we find ourselves today, may God open our eyes continually to see Him, to serve Him, and to rely on Him, in whatever we do.
Pray with me...
God, open the eyes of all in the BCS/WCA community to see that it is You we are serving.
'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:40
Father, help us not to miss opportunities to serve one another daily.
Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. Galations 6:10
Lord, may our schools lead our communities by serving and lead others to You through our service.
In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16
Soli Deo Gloria To God alone be the glory
~ Carrie Warner, BCS/WCA Prayer Team Coordinator
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