Friday, February 20, 2009

A Servant on Service

Marcus Wilson, our new Chaiman of the Board of Deacons, has been inviting fellow deacons to give devotions at the start of their meetings.

Tim Threadgill gave such an excellent one at the first meeting of this year that I wanted to share it with you. It is based upon Jim Boice's book, Christ's Call To Discipleship.

Diaconate Meeting
January 12, 2009

12 When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? 13You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. 16 Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.
John 13:12-17

· “It is the duty of the deacons to minister: (i) to those who are in need, (ii) to the sick, (iii) to the friendless, and (iv) to any who may be in distress. BCO, 9-1.

· HOW can we serve others?

1. Listen to others.

· Dietrich Bonhoeffer said: “It is God’s love for us that he not only gives us his word but also lends us his ear. So it is his work that we do for our brother when we learn to listen to him. Christians often think they must always contribute something when they are in the company of others. They forget that listening can be a greater service than speaking.”

· James 3:6 => “The tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness.”

2. Respond to what we hear by helping one another.

· When we listen, we often learn that people are hurting, thus triggering our duties as deacons.

· James Boice said: “The problem is that helping people is seldom convenient. We have our own schedules and our own hours, and days are full. This is perhaps truer of our time than earlier times due to the frantic pace of modern life, but our situation is not fundamentally different from what people of earlier days experienced. It is always inconvenient to help others. It was inconvenient for the Samaritan in Jesus’ parable who helped the poor man who had fallen prey to thieves. He had his own journey. He too was on the way to Jericho. He too had business or family obligations. But he interrupted these. He stopped his journey, attended to the wounded man, deviated from his itinerary in order to take the victim to an inn, spent the night, paid for his care, and then planned to return the same way after his own business was settled. This is what service means. It means putting others’ well-being ahead of our own." [JMB, p. 64]

· Bonhoeffer said: “It is part of the discipline of humility that we must not spare our hand where it can perform a service and that we do not assume that our schedule is our own to manage, but allow it to be arranged by God.”

3. Bear one another’s burdens.

· Paul tells the Galatians in 6:2 to “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”

· To do that effectively, we have to create a relationship/atmosphere of trust and acceptance.

· Boice issues this warning: “To bear another’s burdens, particularly those of an extremely disoriented and needy person, means involvement with him/her at our own cost and inconvenience, which means we will only be able to bear it by a genuine crucifixion of ourselves.”

4. Speak God’s truth to the other person.

· Although we must be good listeners (#1), when it is time for us to speak, “Christians are different from others at this point because we have something genuinely helpful to say – because we can speak God’s words as we have heard them in Scripture.

· Even though we are imperfect and confused ourselves, “fear of our own proneness to failure should not keep us from saying what is necessary at the proper time.” In Romans 15:14, Paul writes: I myself am satisfied about you, brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another.” In other words, Paul is saying the church already knew the truths he was writing. As Christians, we are called to give one another practical, real-life wisdom and counsel. This is especially true of us as church officers.

· Of course, on occasion (as we minister to those in distress and those in need) we must tell our brothers of a sin in their lives. When we do so, we should be quick to note God’s words in 1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

5. Restore one another.

· In doing so, we should approach our brother in meekness, gentleness and great love, recognizing that we are capable of the same sin ourselves.

· Speaking of “gentleness,” Harry Ironside: “If you are going to wash someone else’s feet, we must be careful of the temperature of the water.” Neither too hot nor too cold.

John 13:17=> “If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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