Thursday, September 9, 2010

Day 4: Why Not Serve

Day 4
Theme: Why not Serve
Passage: John 13:1-17

Have you ever been to a store or restaurant and felt like taking care of your self? A place in which the service was so bad that you were frustrated and ready to just walk out and leave?

There is something in our American mentality that we LOVE to be pampered. Maybe a better word is that we feel ENTITLED to be cared for. Very few cultures have a mentality of Selfishness that we do. Don’t you think that when you are in a restaurant you DESERVE good service, and if you don’t get it you don’t tip well?

How about this: Have you ever held the door for someone, and when they walked through it without thanking you, instead of just ignoring it you decide to teach them a lesson and belt out “You’re Welcome”.

Let me give you some facts.
Americans spend more than:
10 BILLION each year on Spa Treatment companies in the US.
8 Billion each year on cosmetic and Beauty Products 1

We live in a society that loves to be pampered.
We live in a society that likes the “air” of being rich.
We like to look down our noses at the person who doesn’t dress well, or smell well.
We want to be served.

Again Jesus’ thought teaches a view point that is ANTI-CULTURE.
Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.
Jesus teaches us to serve not to be served.

Tom Davis, President of Children’s Hope Chest in his Book Red Letters, had this to say about seeing those in need a JESUS.

I’ve discovered a new way to live. Every morning when I get out of bed, I look for Jesus. No, not because I’ve misplaced him. And I’m not talking about a feeling I get during prayer or revelation that comes to me while reading Scripture. I’m talking about finding Jesus in the eyes of the real people. In the eyes of the poor, the handicapped, the oppressed, the orphan, the homeless, the AIDS victim – the abandoned and forgotten.

Throughout Scripture, Jesus identified with the poor in amazing ways. He was their champion, their advocate. He gave them purpose and meaning and hope. He held them in high esteem and blessed them. There is something deep and meaningful about this. In Matthew 25:40, Jesus Said “Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me – you did it to me.” Was he truly saying that we will find him in the lives of the poor? That is a rich mystery.

We shouldn’t be surprised. Our God is indeed a God of Mystery. Isaiah 55:8-9 says,
‘I don’t think the way you think.
The way you work isn’t the way I work.”
God’s Decree.
“For as the sky soars high above the earth,
So the way I work surpasses the way you work,
And the way I think is beyond the way you think.”

Are you getting the picture? Jesus didn’t come to earth and identify with the rich, the successful, and the most influential. He entered the world as a pauper. He entered the world not in the comfort of his parents’ home, nor in the company of smiling relatives or even the safety of a hospital. He arrived in the humblest of places, in the lowliest of circumstances. God hid the mystery of the kingdom in the lives of the most needy.

Is it any wonder, then, that Jesus associated himself with the “least of these”? That when we help them, we’re helping Jesus? God has tremendous love for those who are rejected, abandoned and laughed at. This truth came clear to me when I started reading about the life of Mother Teresa. Read what she said:

The dying, the crippled, the mentally ill, the unwanted,
The unloved – they are Jesus in disguise… (Through the) poor people I have an opportunity to be 24 hours a day with Jesus.
Every AIDS victim is Jesus in a pitiful disguise; Jesus is in everyone..
(AIDS sufferers are) children of God (who) have been created for greater things.

In some crazy way, Jesus is the poor. When we find the “least of these” we find him. If this doesn’t turn your theology upside down, I don’t know what will.

How would it change your ‘LOVE’ for those that are less fortunate (or just those around you) if you saw them as ‘Jesus in disguise’?

Are you ready to live that out?

Are you ready to drive a little bit more patiently?

Or possibly to let someone go in front of you at the grocery check out lane?

Today let’s work on that.

Deliver Me, Jesus -
From the desire to be praised, honored, glorified, preferred, wanted, consulted, or approved.
Deliver me, Jesus, from the fear of being humiliated, criticized, forgotten, ridicules, maltreated, rejected, and from the fear of what others (will) think of me.
O JESUS, give me the grace to desire: that others would be loved and esteemed and encouraged and lifted up ahead of me, that in the eyes of the world they would increase while I decrease, and praised while I pass by unnoticed;
That others would be preferred in all situations;
that others would become more important than myself -
in order that I would be as holy a servant as You are and want me to be

~Charles de Foucauld.

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