SERVANTHOOD

“Serve as it is the first time you served; Serve as it is your ONLY time serving.”
It was so fitting for me to hear that saying while at the closing celebration of a weekend where I felt led to “serve” others in whatever capacity was needed in setting up the dining room for meals, with food preparation, and clean up from the meals.
I had never helped at this place before though my family and I have helped at a soup kitchen monthly for several years.  I went into this weekend feeling like I was there to be a servant; being available for whatever task was needed, no matter how menial.  It made me think about that is how Jesus was the ultimate servant, who came to this earth to SERVE, one of the most powerful ways being dying on the cross for you and me. Jesus came to serve, NOT to be served.
I envisioned Jesus doing even the most menial of tasks, liking wiping food off of chairs, vacuuming the crumbs off the floor, emptying the garbage, with love and in humbleness. I believe Jesus thought NO task was without value especially when done in love and humbleness.  Jesus did not think He was above anyone or think that He was exempt from doing any menial task.
14244929821_44f8a80f22_o
Photo credit by Sapphire Dream Photography under Creative Commons License (CC BY-NC-ND-2.0)
Whenever I work at the soup kitchen or in this kitchen, I try to be attentive to what others may need in whatever task they are performing and try to be there to assist them….maybe giving them a utensil they need when their hands are full, consolidating food into one container so the dishwasher person could get busy scrubbing the baked-on lasagna pan, etc.
I was truly blessed to be able to serve others that weekend especially since it ended up I was one of the younger people. I did not know any of the people there, but they certainly made me feel welcome, sharing hugs often with the main lady who was so happy I came to help. It is truly a blessing to talk with other people, try to see why they have the perspectives they have due to their life experiences, and to share the Christ in me.
There was one lady who was kind enough to take me under her wing, and filled me in as to how things worked, where things were and the history of things. She truly blessed me in our interactions, and we seemed to think very similarly in our serving of others. Her willingness to extend herself in sharing with me made me realize the importance of me doing that when I am in my local soup kitchen….reaching out to be friendly to any new comers who may be helping out.
Servanthood is a way of life. Looking for even the littlest ways of serving others is something I think Jesus did while on this earth.
No matter what we do, we need to do it in love and because of Christ in us…May we strive to be more like Jesus every day…serving others with love and humbleness.
serve final
Are there places or ways God may be calling you to step out more and serve others? I think often we get so stuck in our routines that we might not step out and serve in some different way. It would be awesome to go help at this kitchen again, and to see some young faces there too….we are ALL called to serve one another in love and humbleness!
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.  –Colossians 3:23-24 (NIV)
Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.  –John 12:26 (NIV)

PRAISE TO HIM

All glory and praise
  Belong to our Lord
Whose love has done more
  Than we can afford.

Because of Jesus,
  We can face each day
With love and peace
  To brighten our way.

Since living with Him,
  Life is easier to bear
Because we know
  He’s always there.

His greatest deed
  Is hard to measure–
For eternity with Him
  Is a priceless treasure!

7009176747_a9d232e529_o

Photo credit by marty hadding under Creative Commons License (CC BY-NC 2.0)

But as for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more. My mouth will tell of your righteousness, of your salvation all day long. –Psalm 71:14-15 (NIV)

TRUE FRIENDS

What attributes come to mind when you think of a true friend?

I think we can learn some attributes of a true friend from thinking about:

–The example Jesus gave us

–Our relationship with Him

–And our own friends who might mirror Christ to us.

Remember too, that a friendship works both ways…

–It is a blessing to have true friends

–And, we have the honor of being true friends to others.

7889396312_d4dbb7328c_o

Photo credit by MICHELLE TEGROOTENHUIS under Creative Commons License (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

A true friend is:

–Someone who really CARES what is happening in your life

–Someone who WALKS WITH YOU whether you are hurting or happy

–Someone who LISTENS to you with all his/her heart

–Someone who SHARES your ups and downs

–Someone who makes you SMILE and LAUGH

–Someone you can DEPEND on to support you especially in the struggles

–Someone you can TALK to about anything and everything

–Someone who shares their FAITH with you to help you grow

–Someone who ENCOURAGES you in your walk

–Someone who CHALLENGES you to be a better you

–Someone who UNDERSTANDS what you are saying

–Someone who shows COMPASSION when you need it most

–Someone who PRAYS with and for you

–Someone who REACHES OUT to you and forgets about their own needs.

I thank the Lord for His gift and example of being a true friend to us and for the special true friends He has placed in my pathway to share my life with.

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.   –John 15:12-15 (NIV)

THE SNOWBALL EFFECT

Have you ever experienced and taken time to notice in your life something that could be coined the “Snowball Effect?” (I borrowed that from my editor as I was sharing some of the stories below with her.)

By this, I mean God can use events and circumstances in our life to affect another person and their life. One small encounter in our life can be viewed as a small snowball. As that event affects another, creating that snowball effect, the snowball continues to increase in size and affects even more things.

4383105973_4f0b8468e7_o

Photo credit by 19melissa68 under Creative Commons License (CC BY-NC 2.0)

For me, especially more recently, it seems I am more aware of it happening in my life. I am always so in awe of it and truly blessed to see how the Lord uses each and every one of us through such simple, ordinary ways to have a ripple effect. It makes me aware of God’s presence and Him working in my life and those around me.

Recently I had plans to visit a friend whose husband died a few months ago. We had a time arranged but at the last minute, I had a message from the friend saying to come an hour later as she was asked to be in a photo shoot for the place where she lives.

That simple little hour change in my plans then afforded me the chance to run to the dentist as I’ve been having some teeth issues. As I was driving to the dentist, I noticed, by the license plate, that a friend of mine was in front of me. I tried flashing my lights to get her attention but to no avail. Seeing her car made me think about saying a prayer or two for her as we haven’t seen each other or talked much in a few weeks.

After going to the dentist, I had a few minutes to run to the store, and felt inspired to pick up a few bouquets of flowers; one to leave for the friend whose car I had seen and the other for the lady I was going to visit though I wasn’t sure she really liked flowers. I thought it was quite a “God incident” that the lady I was visiting happened to have the same beautiful pink color shirt on to match the color of the roses I brought her.

When I got to the store, I texted my friend whose car I had seen, and I shared that I was praying for her. I was really blessed and inspired when she wrote back, “Well, that explains it. As I was driving, I felt this peace come over me. I had a bad day yesterday and need prayer. I’ll call you later.” When we talked later, she asked me where it was that I saw her…when I told her where she said that was the moment she felt the peace come over her. That sure was a God-moment for me! To see first hand the power of prayer was such a blessing for me…and my friend.

When we talked that evening, my friend shared an experience that she is going through that I have been through too, so it was awesome to see how God brought us together.

That same day, I was debating whether to attend a Celebration of Life for a husband of a teacher my children all had. It was about a 1/2 hr away in a different city & state. I really felt I should be there but wasn’t sure if I wanted to travel that far in the dark and on the country roads. While driving and at a stop light, there was a dump truck in front of me and though I’ve never seen anything like it before, on the top, right corner of the truck bed was the name of the city and state where the funeral was. To me, it was like “confirmation” that indeed I was to attend.

At the celebration there were many, many people and the “snowball effect” happened again. I was waiting in line to get in the church, but I was in the “right” place at the right time to see a teacher that I helped out in her classroom the last two years. This past summer she moved away so it was a blessing to run into her…and in the service we ended up sitting near each other though that was unplanned as well.

15076991694_79bf5a057a_o

Photo credit by Scripture As Art under Creative Commons License (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

As I sat at the Celebration of Life, all I could think was how powerful that ONE LIFE can be. This gentleman was a Godly man who was a basketball coach for 27 years and involved in Awana for 25 years at his church, among many other things. His life and Godly example touched so many people.

I think we ALL have that opportunity though maybe not in the “bigger” way that he did. WE have the power to touch and be a positive influence in EVERY life we come in contact with. Other people may not “see” the way we impact other’s lives, but God does and in the end, that is what matters. God sees all those little ways we try to brighten someone’s day, encourage another, pick up litter we see on the ground, send an email to someone we haven’t heard from in awhile, and the list goes on.

A few days later, I was taking my youngest son to his last outside fall baseball game. My teeth had still been hurting, actually even worse than when I went to the dentist the day mentioned above. To top it off, there were so many cars at this baseball field as there were football games going on too….there was no place to park! I drop my son off and try to find a parking spot way far away and hang out in my car (during his practice time) as it is a little chilly. I finally get a call from my son saying no one is there from his baseball team! Right as I was going to text the coach, the coach calls and says, “Oh, I just thought I bet I forgot to call you to tell you the game is cancelled.” Needless to say, I was not too happy especially as this isn’t the first time it happened.

On the way home, I decided to go to the store for some milk and bread. As I’m leaving there, out of the corner of my eye and through the boxes and aisles of food, I see a friend of mine who we get together weekly to talk about life and God. This is the first time our schedules and other commitments won’t allow us to meet for a month or more but we’ve been keeping in touch via emails.

The “snowball effect” again…if I hadn’t gone to the cancelled baseball game and stopped at the store, I wouldn’t have run into her. She had just gotten back in town from a weekend getaway. So, it blessed me to catch up quick with her and share about my teeth issue that was still so bad. Quite “God incident” my teeth did start to feel a little better after that encounter, as well as me asking another friend to pray for me on that same day.

18781855301_1d42497e5c_o

Photo credit by Sapphire Dream Photography under Creative Commons License (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Maybe these “snowball effects” are to benefit you, or maybe the other person. You may never know how your interaction touched or blessed another. God is good, and it is so powerful to see how everything is connected. I can help you, you can help me, and together we can glorify the Lord in all we do and say. It is awesome to be open to see the Lord working in all of our circumstances.

I encourage you to look at events and circumstances in your life to see what “snowball effect” you see. Feel free to share them in the comments section below.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. –Romans 8:28 (NIV)