Archive for June, 2008
This year marks my 20th year class reunion. Ouch. Anyone have a tissue? Thanks. I thought homework would have been a thing of the past, but as a person who strives to become a little better, a little stronger, and a little more Christ like each day, I realized that I will always have homework. I know that in my case, I will have to work harder than the average person (ok, that was supposed to be a joke) to maintain alignment in my life to live for Christ.
I decided to end one of my recent late nights by reading my Bible in bed. I have been studying the book of Job.My Bible has become one of the most used items I own. It’s tattered, highlighted, marked in, and the edges curl. And I really didn’t want it any other way. I didn’t want it to look perfect, and I found myself smiling each time I picked it up to do more homework. Studying from my worn Bible just felt good.
I spent about an hour reading and taking notes before I realized that my eyes were crossing from fatigue, and I was no longer retaining what I was reading. The next thing I knew my alarm was sounding, and it was time for me to wake to start my day. I’d fallen asleep with my Bible open, the light on, and I now had a highlighted pillow. As I sat up to turn off the alarm, I noticed shreds of paper in my bed. Yes, the cat ate my Bible. Not one page, not two pages, but a good portion of the book of Job.
I thought about purchasing a brand new Bible, skinning a cat, and bleaching my now highlighted pillow case. But after thinking about it, I decided to do none of the above. My Bible is special to me and regardless of it’s shape, it’s the one I started with. I am committed to piecing the pages back together with Scotch tape. I love my cat, and I think I can find a lesson on forgiveness in this situation.
Each morning and night when I awaken and sleep, I am reminded that my love for Christ has superceded any thoughts of a replacing a ruined pillow case. Twenty years after high school, the cat still ate my homework. I’ve got shreds of paper and a pink highlighted pillow case to prove it. I wonder what my Instructor thinks of that.
As I watched my kids interact over this carefully prepared breakfast, I thought about service. What does it mean to serve someone? What does it mean to serve someone who is starving? In many ways, we all starve for something whether it be food, friendship, love, comfort, or encouragement. Sometimes we simply starve for knowledge and know-how. And the truth is, we can be fed from those around us.
My daughter has a gift for making pancakes and she uses that gift to feed those around her. She can make peanut butter, cappuccino, M & M, and banana pancakes. Her recipes are only limited by her imagination.We all have different gifts and talents that we can use to feed others. Whether it’s a gift of writing, cooking, teaching, training, leading, constructing, counseling, or planning, we can use those to feed the needs of those who starve for what we have to offer. Our skills and talents can be used in our churches, communities, the streets we live on, the house next door, and within our own homes to satisfy existing needs.
We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his[a]faith. 7If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.
2 Corinthians 9:12 (New International Version)
12This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.1 Peter 4:9-119Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. 11If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it 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 3:14-1614
But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear[a]; do not be frightened.”[b] 15But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
Finally, consider how important good customer service is even when it’s a neighbor or a close friend. Consider it when it’s your spouse or child. Be sure to smile, speak kindly, display gentleness, and they will welcome your service. And as you serve, teach and encourage those you have served to do the same, and they too, can serve others just as they were served. Even if we are only serving pancakes with gentleness and a smile, those we serve will be likely to return, learn, and share what they’ve been given.
When have you starved for something? When have you “fed” those around you? Share your experiences!