Every week in our context, whoever preaches writes a follow up devotional thought. Here is my most recent sermon and the following devotional. Enjoy!
ENCOUNTER: Read Philippians 2:1-11
I wish that God would speak clearly to me and tell me what he would like me to do. At least, that is what I tell myself I wish. The truth is, nobody wants that. In fact, anybody who approached Jesus with a specific ask, his answer was always too challenging, and often left the other person distraught.
If we are honest, Jesus has been incredibly clear in his teaching about the kind of people he longs for us to be, the values he longs for us to have, and the people he longs for us to serve. The problem is that each one of these things is not about power or status. Following Christ into these things will never result in a larger bank statement, in career advancement, or in more status in your peer group. In fact, it will cost all three.
This passage in Philippians is so challenging because Paul doesn’t just teach this, but uses Jesus, our Lord and Savior, as the illustration, the example. Jesus, who was in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped. In fact, took on the form of a servant, even to the point of death.
With all that in the background, what would happen if we ask the question again, “To whom is God calling me to serve?” Who are the people in your your world, your work place, your neighborhood that you can leverage your privilege and power to see, empathize with, and care for? That is a great place to start.
Every one of us should have people in our lives who we are to expend our resources and capitol on to serve for the sake of Christ.
But what if we were willing to extend our circle and imagination. “To whom is God calling you to serve?” Who are groups of people who are marginalized, exploited, in need of care and advocacy? There are so many people who fit this category and you can’t serve everyone. So, pay attention to whom God has put on your heart, to the issues that cause the most passion in you, and maybe, just maybe God is inviting you to leverage your power and privilege for them.
Imagine if each and every person at MCC, or better yet, in the larger body of Christ would simply be faithful to love and serve the people in their sphere and advocate and care for the specific grouping of people they are passionate about caring for. I am convinced that if we did that, the Kingdom of God would be made more fully known on earth as it is in heaven!
To whom is God calling you? List out the people in your sphere’s of influence, at work, at school, in your family and in your friend group. Who is at the bottom? Which issues in our world stir the most passion in you? Is that an invitation to invest more intentionally in that group of people or that cause?
BE A BLESSING:
This isn’t hard. Simply spend some of your resources and capitol to extend grace, mercy, and empathy to someone who needs it. Know that it is going to cost you. But remember that you are honoring Christ and blessing Jesus when you do that.
I hate being alone, especially difficult things. Who can you tap to be along side you to encourage you and help you put into practice this spiritual practice of serving and caring for the poorest and marginalized among us?