Sermon Reflections - Generous Service - by Jeff Byerley
Thinking about Generous Service & Philippians 2:3-5
3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. 5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
In the letters Titus and Jude, the Greek word doulos is used and is often translated “bond servant”. When a servant had the opportunity for freedom, he or she could choose instead to become a bond servant to their master for life, willingly undertaking the duties of a slave. Paul, Jude and Jesus himself, all made themselves willing slaves to serve God joyfully. We see this in marriage and in our working in partnership with God. Indeed, God enslaves himself to us. I enslave myself to you so you can flourish. We do not give ourselves to manipulate God. Yet as St Francis once said: “We give so that we can receive.” We heard in the song that our world is broke. Do we look away? We are Christ's hands and feet on earth. We can make a difference. Jesus taught in Matthew 5 that we are to be light and salt to the earth. Give love to people you do not like and even to your enemies. Instead of looking for faults, look for solutions. Look for opportunities to serve. Help people to see God. Carry one anothers' burdens. Serve like a doulos. Take a note of what is happening. God chooses to work though us, to work through our prayers! We can make a difference if we work together and many things can happen. Life goes on and many things can distract us. As the old hymn says: “Consecrate my life to you, take my voice, … take my soul, … my intellect, ... my heart”. Make this your own prayer.
As Johan shared on Sunday about Generous Service, we explored the idea of creating new habits where we just start with one act of service each day. And this act will continue a process of transforming us from a survival mentality to a selflessness Christ-like lifestyle. This is the same attitude of Christ Jesus and we will find true joy as we become slaves to Jesus. In thinking further about Generous Service, Johan shared 4 T's - Time, Treasure, Talents and Trust.
These are four areas of our life that we can work on beginning one new habit of generous service. This sort of giving requires a biblical perspective on giving. Where we give, it is only to God, and not for any reward for ourselves. The survival of self seeks or measures reward before giving, but biblical generosity gives with open hands and no thought for return. This week, let your posture be open handed, and seek to give one thing, your time, treasure, talents and trust to the Lord.
Prayer of Thomas Kempis Book 3 Chapter 10.
O Fountain of love unceasing, what shall I say concerning You? … What return shall I make to You for this grace? Behold, all things are Yours which I have and whereby I serve You. And yet contrariwise You rather serve me, than I You. Behold! Heaven and earth, which You have created for the service of humankind, are ready at hand and to daily perform whatever You have commanded. And this is too little; nay, even angels have You appointed to minister to humankind. But what excels all this is, that You yourself have vouchsafed to serve us and have promised that You would give Yourself to us.
May we so respond to God in a like manner. In Jesus' name, Amen.