Servant Leadership – Who’s Serving Who?

Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. John 13:1-17, 31b-35  We don’t often talk about Peter’s reluctance to Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. It was a menial task usually left to servants, that is of course assuming that you had servants. Jesus’ act makes clear that this is exactly who we are – servants to one another. A friend of mine wanted to do something for me and I told her it wasn’t necessary believing that it might be a burden for her. She said something I will never forget; “Why would you deny me the opportunity to do what God has called me to do?” Who was I to determine the measure of her gift to me? No act is too small to give and no spirit is too great to receive. Jesus the perfecter of our faith has set the pathway. To lead is to serve and to serve is to lead.

You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you…  I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.’  John 13:1-17, 31-35

11th Day Of Christmas

Interestingly, bagpipes were considered a peasant instrument associated with persons of low social status such as 11apostlesshepherds and farmers. Today bagpipes are often heard at memorial services for firefighters and policeman, perhaps common people but whose service is endeared and often under-appreciated. Theirs is a service to the community, which is heightened, particularly during events of great distress. As commanded by Christ, the eleven faithful Apostles, witnesses to the resurrection, were men of common stature who would go on to spread the message of the Gospel across the nations. Although the early church would suffer great persecutions, the apostles rose to the occasion so that we too may come to believe and be witnesses for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted.  And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age. Matthew 28:16-20

8th Day Of Christmas

Beatitudes Matthew 5:3-12

Beatitudes Matthew 5:3-12

Milkmaids were probably among the least of the servants in a home and yet no doubt their work was very important in providing food as well as income. Important particularly in a weakened economy, is the ability to provide for one’s family. Surely, eight “milkmaids” is a generous gift when most of us would be happy with one such provision. Regardless of our present condition a Jehovah Jireh assures us that there is no mountain to climb or valley to cross in which our needs wont be provided for along the way. Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Thus, eight milkmaids for eight beatitudes and along with it comes eight rewards.

Genesis 22:9-14 So Abraham called that place ‘The Lord will provide’; as it is said to this day, ‘On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.

Bound For Life!

Lent: Day 16 – I couldn’t wait to get out of my parents home. I felt shackled, bound and unable to move about freely. Worst of all I felt as if I was forced to do things certain other people didn’t have to do, like cook, clean and wash dishes. When I left for good I vowed I’d never go back and I never did. Although I wasn’t wild and uncontrollable, I wasn’t necessarily free. Even when we live alone we find our selves bound to something if not some one. It’s not all bad. However when the bonds that we’ve adhered to begin to adversely affect the self or others, the person, thing, or both to which we are bound becomes an overwhelming problem. At times, our bonds are so overwhelming in fact we lose touch with mercy, we lose touch with grace and finally we lose touch with self. The good news is that even when we’ve lost touch with the self, grace and mercy does not lose touch with us because God knows us from within. When Jesus met a man lost in self and encumbered with legions, mercy and grace was the first order of the day. Whether we are bound by choice or bound by force, good or bad the consequences always have their way. However, the day we commit to be bound by Christ is the day we will begin to serve freely.

Mark 5:1-20 He lived among the tombs; and no one could restrain him any more, even with a chain;4for he had often been restrained with shackles and chains, but the chains he wrenched apart, and the shackles he broke in pieces; and no one had the strength to subdue him.

Epiphany II

When God calls us into his service, he already knows exactly what he is getting; the good, the bad, and the ugly! It won’t stop God from using us. Only we can hinder our anointing by not using both our mind and our body to glorify God. Should we accept his call, all that’s left is for us to go forth with our own testimony of the word made flesh in us and spread the Epiphany.

God Knows Us; Hindering GodGlorify God;

Bread For Thought: Service

Sunday:

Matthew 23:1-12 The greatest among you will be your servant. All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.

Jesus warns his disciples to heed the words of the well-learned scribes and Pharisees because of their expertise in the law. However their behavior served only to burden God’s people rather than help them live in communion with one another. Today, we get the message to love neighbor as self and many of us spend a lot of time trying to serve one another. However, we sometimes forget that it is God who desires to serve us through serving each other. It is the spirit and presence of God within in us that enables us to do the things that we do. Thus when we walk in Christ, the greatest among us is always the presence of God. In this way, when we all sit at the table we are all being served.

Luke 22:27 For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.

Foolish Games

Thursday

…on division in the church

I remember a very foolish argument as a child that nearly caused the entire class to end up in detention. We argued over which radio station played the best R&B music; WHAT or WDAS. Somehow it became rather heated and intense which of course I had to take part. I immediately chimed into this seesaw affair as each side rose to scream out the call letters “HAT” – “DAS”. This playground event clearly inappropriate for the classroom went far too long as the teacher came in and interjected with a warning before starting the lesson. None of us were interested in having this debate after school. I was glad it was over, because if truth be told, I had no idea which of these stations played the better music because I didn’t listen to the radio. I didn’t even know what the call numbers were. If my wee circle of friends claimed “WHAT” than so did I. Fairly new to the city of Philadelphia, what did I know? I was a country girl from Maryland. As the year would go by I found that both stations played decent music, slightly different but still R&B and both enjoyable. God provides various vehicles (ministries) for us to reach him, to enjoy his presence, and build our relationships through his son Jesus Christ. And it really doesn’t matter how we hear him, as long as we take the time to listen for the one and only God, one faith and one baptism in Christ Jesus. Difference is okay but we must not lose sight of what brings us together and be careful not to raise the non-essential to the position of the essential.

1 Corinthians 2:14 – 3:15 What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you came to believe, as the Lord assigned to each.

2 Peter 1:20-21 First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by human will, but men and women moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

Labor Day

Monday

Every now and then one has to be reminded of the gifts that God has given us. During down times in our lives it can be very easy to accept the traps that society sets for us such as devaluing our labor. For example, we don’t often see cleaning our home as a very valuable asset. But what if you don’t have a home? Then there is the opportunity to volunteer or perhaps write a blog, both occasions for stewardship or ways to give back the gift God has given us, to other communities. I was reminded to day that labor doesn’t always represent a paid position. Paid or volunteer, labor is stewardship at work. If taken seriously and to the glory of God, in due season it always has its reward for our selves and for others.

Colossians 3:23-24 Whatever your task, put yourselves into it, as done for the Lord and not for your masters, since you know that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward; you serve the Lord Christ.

Ephesians 6: 7-8 Render service with enthusiasm, as to the Lord and not to men and women, knowing that whatever good we do, we will receive the same again from the Lord, whether we are slaves or free.

Malachi 3:10 Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in my house, and thus put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts; see if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you an overflowing blessing.

Bread For Thought

Wednesday

To render, to help, to provide for, to work actively for, to pay homage to, to go through; are all forms of service. Like the parent who provides for the child, God renders, helps, provides for, works actively for, favors and goes through with us. Like the child, in return we worry, fight against (rebel), test the boundaries, dishonor (refuse to submit) and ignore (refuse to listen). By grace it is a relationship that grows into its fullness in due season, when we begin to understand that God sees our potential and knows our heart. Like Moses, David, Peter and Paul, God loves us unconditionally. This I believe is really one of the best parts of life in Christ, that God loves us unconditionally.

Luke 22: 24-30  … But I am among you as one who serves. ‘You are those who have stood by me in my trials; and I confer on you, just as my Father has conferred on me, a kingdom, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Psalm 91  Those who love me, I will deliver; I will protect those who know my name. When they call to me, I will answer them; I will be with them in trouble, I will rescue them and honor them. With long life I will satisfy them, and show them my salvation.  

Psalm 139  O Lord, you have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away… Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence?

Philippians 4:6,7  Do not worry (be anxious) about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Luke 12: 8  ‘And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God

Bread For Thought

Monday

Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked…, They are like trees planted by streams of water which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither. In all that they do, they prosper (Psalm 1).  The beginning of this first Psalm really sets the foundation of our lives. Every day you have a choice to make. Choose to be happy. Make the good choices and enjoy the fluffy crumb.