40 Days of Discipline


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 25 – Service

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Ephesians 5:1 – 2)

 

As we conclude our consideration of the Discipline of Service today let’s focus on application.  During His time on earth, service was central to Jesus.  In Matthew 23:11 He said, “But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant”.  Our passage today instructs us to follow His example.  I am convinced that the world really needs this!

Please prayerfully read the passage above and consider the suggestions below.

 

Suggestions

  • Prayerfully create a Service Action Plan (SAP) for the next few days/weeks.
  • Consider what Jesus would do in response to the prevailing atmosphere of uncertainty, fear and pain.
  • Be specific in your SAP about who you are going to serve and the service you will perform.
  • If you can share your plan without betraying any confidences, please do so to encourage others.

 

 


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 24 – Service

8Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.  9Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy. (Proverbs 31:8-9)

 

Today we continue our reflections on the Discipline of Service as we consider the theme A World in Need.

The Discipline of Service confronts a prevalent and pervasive philosophy in the world today – survival of the fittest.  Just consider the example of the hoarding of necessary supplies that has been highlighted by the media over the last few weeks.  And then there are the heartbreaking examples of many who view the elderly afflicted by coronavirus as dispensable.

Yesterday our commentators provided some really good ways we can help our neighbour.  Today, I would like us to pay special attention to the destitute.

Please prayerfully read the passage above and consider the question below.

 

Question

In your sphere of influence, who are the destitute that you can provide service to?

 

 


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 23 – Service

25On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”  26“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”  27He answered: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”  28“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”  29But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”  30In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead.  31A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side.  32So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.  33But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.  34He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him.  35The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’  36“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”  37The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:25-37)

 

Today we begin our reflections on the Discipline of Service as we consider the theme A World in Need.  Later this week we will consider the Discipline of Stewardship.

Jesus taught powerful lessons through parables. The parable of the Good Samaritan is certainly a fitting story for us to think about as we consider the Discipline of Service in the context of current global events.  With Covid-19 wreaking havoc we certainly have a world in need – a world desperate for good Samaritans.

Media outlets are rightly applauding health service workers and others at the front line of addressing the human tragedy we are observing.  As commendable as these actions are though, they pale in comparison to the sacrifice Jesus made for humanity.  The standard of service expected of followers of Jesus is, therefore, very high.

Please prayerfully read the passage above and consider the question below.

 

Question

What are some of the ways that Christians can serve as good neighbors in the current crisis?

 

 


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 25 – Service

This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. (John 5:8)

 

Over the last two days we have looked at two concepts aimed at ensuring that we focus on glorifying God when we serve others.  Today, we consider the third and final concept: Sharing God’s Glory.

Sharing God’s Glory

The transformative power of the glory of God compels us to share with others, and we should not be lazy or casual about this responsibility.  Through service, we can attend to the physical needs of those around us, but we should not forget spiritual needs.  We practically share God’s glory with others by sharing Jesus.  While we should always attend to “natural” needs, let’s remember that ultimately what people need is God.

 

Question:

Are you comfortable with the idea of sharing Jesus with others through service?


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 24 – Service

29Jesus left there and went along the Sea of Galilee. Then he went up on a mountainside and sat down.  30Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them.  31The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel.  32Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat.  I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.” (Matthew 15:29 – 32)

 

Yesterday we considered the first of three concepts that can help us maintain the right focus when we serve others.  Today, we consider the second concept: Seeing things the way Jesus does.

Seeing Things the Way Jesus Does

If we are going to serve others in a way that gives God glory I am convinced that we have to see the world the way Jesus sees it.  I suspect that I speak for many of us when I say that in our most cynical moments we see all beggars as scam artists, we see those down on their luck as lazy, and we see appeals for help as unnecessary intrusions into our ordered existence.  Sometimes our assessments might be right but I wonder how many times we get things wrong and miss the opportunity to serve.  Jesus sees the world through eyes of love and compassion.  There are so many stories in the Bible that illustrate His passion for people.  So, the Apostle Paul tells us in Philippians 2:6 to have the same mindset as Jesus, and then goes on in verse 7 to say that Jesus took on the very nature of a servant.

Please prayerfully read the passage above, paying particular attention to how Jesus viewed the crowd, and then answer the question below.

 

Question:

How well tuned are you to the needs of those around you – do you have the mindset of a servant?


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 23 – Service

8Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.  9Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.  10Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.  11If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God.  If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.  To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever.  Amen. (1 Peter 4:8 – 11)

 

We have now considered six Disciplines: Bible Study, Spiritual Warfare, Prayer, Fasting, worship, and fellowship.   This week we will focus on Service and Stewardship, starting with Service.

Service is a wonderful discipline that can go terribly wrong if our focus is misplaced (e.g., focussing on self-glory versus glorifying God).  Over the next three days we will discuss three concepts, which should help us with the right focus: 1) Seeking God’s Glory; 2) Seeing Things the Way Jesus Does; and 3) Sharing God’s Glory.

Seeking God’s Glory

Someone once said, “Service sounds like a great idea until you realize you have to serve people.”  Serving people can quite a challenge. No wonder Paul says, “Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.”  We referenced portions of the passage above last week during our discussion of fellowship.  The passage is also very relevant to our discussion of service.  Please read the entire passage above and consider the question below.

 

Question:

If we focus on seeking God’s glory, how will our perspective on serving others be impacted?


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 25 – Service

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.  Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.  10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.  11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God.  If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.  To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever.  Amen. (1 Peter 4:8 – 11)

 

Service is of vital importance to the local church, and the strong relationship to the discipline of Fellowship is obvious.  With love as the foundation (deep love, as mentioned above), this threesome (Love, Service and Fellowship) is potent.  Just think of a local church where people who love each other with the love of Christ, journey together using their God given talents in combined service for the cause of Christ.  The picture that emerges is captivating.

The passage above paints such a picture. Please prayerfully reflect on passage.

 

Something to think about:

Where do you see the combined service of believers showing up powerfully in the local church?


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 24 – Service

20 Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him.  21 “What is it you want?” he asked.  She said, “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.”  22 “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them.  “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?”  “We can,” they answered.  23 Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.”  24 When the ten heard about this, they were indignant with the two brothers.  25 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them.  26 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:20 – 28)

 

God’s view of the importance of service, the motivation for service, and the manifestation of service does not align with the world’s view.  The table below presents a comparison of two views:

 

God’s View World’s View
Seek to serve Seek to be served
Making an impact Making an impression
Self-denial and humility Self-promotion and false-humility
Energy comes from God’s overflow Energy comes from self-discipline
Our Significance – Who we are in Christ Our Significance – The praise of others
Eternal glory Temporal gain

 

Please prayerfully reflect on the Bible passages above.

 

Something to think about:

What have you found to be particularly difficult with a lifestyle of service and how does God’s view of service help?


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 23 – Service

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)

1Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.  Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 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: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! (Philippians 2:1 – 8)

 

This week we turn our attention to the Disciplines of Service and Stewardship, and continue to reflect on our theme for this year, Our Identity.  We will start with Service.

The concept of Service being an integral part of the identity of disciples of Jesus, should not in question.  However, a pertinent question is, how do we live a life of service daily?  We should look no further than Jesus as the perfect example, and we should renew our minds to “have the same mindset as Christ Jesus”.

Please prayerfully reflect on the Bible passages above.

 

Something to think about:

The character traits of Jesus as a servant speak volumes.  As you think about your identity as a servant, what key characteristics of Jesus appeal to you?


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 29 – Service

35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ (Matthew 25:35-40)

 

This week will be a hectic one for Libby because we will consider a difference Discipline each day.  Believe it or not, this is the final week before Holy week and we have 5 more Disciplines to consider.  Today we will focus on the Discipline of Service and we have a question from Ayesha.   As a reminder, you will play the part of Libby and share your thoughts on the challenges people are facing.  Libby is not expected to be an expert.  Rather, Libby simply shares from personal and practical experiences.   So, please feel free to chime in even if you have questions yourself. Also, even if you don’t have the time to share, think about how you have addressed the challenge in your life or how you would address it in the life of a loved one.

Please review the Bible passage above and Ayesha’s challenge below.

 

Dear Libby,

I heard a Bible teacher once say that most Christians say they will be committed to acts of service, until they meet the people they must serve.  I think the teacher was talking about me.  People can be mean, deceitful, ungrateful and sometimes even dangerous.  It seems as if all the mushy Hallmark moments never come my way.  So, I have become wary of service unless the circumstances are very risk free and totally within my comfort zone.  Sometimes, deep inside I ask myself, “Why take chances?”

 On the other hand, sometimes when I take the time to reflect, I don’t feel good about my reticence, cynicism and fear.  I see that there is so much need.  I want to grow stronger in this area. What would you suggest?

 

Anxious to serve,

Ayesha

 

Today’s Question:

What thoughts would you like to share with Ayesha?