Christian devotions in the Daily-Message

Christian devotions in the Daily-Message

Serving and Loving

“But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. Use hospitality one to another without grudging. As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”

1 Peter 4:7-11
 

How do we best serve one another? There are probably times when we mean well, however, don't serve, but rather hinder others, through blind actions. But, out of courtesy we keeps silent and let it happen. The mature Peter combines several things and tells us what God values and how we indeed can and should serve others well. Firstly, and in the first instance, we should be level-headed, sober and prayerful. I ask myself, why does he put special emphasis on “how”? Presumably, because we sometimes think that we need preparation and a certain mood and emotional state as well as a special place etc. prior to praying. When we always depend upon so many external and self-imposed requirements, we would probably never attain serious prayer. Therefore Peter says: “Be sober and watch” (1 Peter 4:7). This means, we can and should pray at at all times (Ephesians 6:18 “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints”. When someone has problems (perhaps self-inflicted) we should not first consider or wait until he has learned his lesson. How do we know how God sees it? Who are we that we should withhold helping prayer from our fellow Christians, when we know that they need it? Maybe only you know and can pray for certain things? There is also the matter of “steadfast love” which is also applicable here. If I deny someone my love (am thus fickle and only impulsively loving) then I can also not presume to be forgiving without also being resentful. How do I help and serve? Through hospitality without grumbling! That means, one can also invite others with “hands in the pocket” or quasi pretend to be hospitable. What's the point? It should be regarded as a divine privilege to serve other Christians with food and drink as well as good company. Especially towards those who are maybe alone or suffering through many difficult circumstances in their lives.

We shouldn't serve one another with things we don't have. It would certainly be wrong to incur debt in order to serve others. Then you would probably be doing it more for yourself than for others. To allow yourself to be invited (even when you know that you are unable to reciprocate in like manner) should be possible for us. God also gave every Christian gifts with which we can serve others. We are allowed to be creative, to consider how best we can profitably pass that which we have on to others. What we lack in talents and gifts (but would like to have), we should also not endeavour to perform, and with such behaviour block others who can simply do it better. Some even do this. God gifts, not man. We should also consider what remains of our earthly lives? The heirs rejoice over our possessions and money, the movies and photos of us will fade and gather dust. What counts and remains, what transcends over all else and has validity before God: our love, our prayers, our hospitality, our need for that which God gave us and all the good deeds we do without first considering ourselves. We read in Matthew 6:19-21 “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.'' The wonderful thing is that God expressly states that He does not allow Himself to be served by people (Acts 17:25) but takes it, so to speak, personally when we serve others with the right attitude and are there for them (Matthew 25:40 “Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto Me.'')

(Translated by Linda Gates)

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Zur deutschen Originalversion: Dienen und Lieben


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