Make me a servant Humble and meek
Lord let me lift up Those who are weak
And may the prayer Of my heart always be
Make me a servant today
An old chorus that kept going through my mind this morning. What has happened? Am I still a servant? Am I humble or as I grow older have I become a bit proud of my service to Him? We just finished a week of Bible School in our congregation and someone asked how many years I had been a part of VBS. I was very proud to tell them I had helped for 65 years. PROUD with a capital “P”! I did indicate I had missed a year in all that time. 😊 Why would I feel so proud? God has blessed me in more ways than anyone can imagine in those 65 Bible School experiences. It brought me Joy (with a capital “J”.) No need to be proud…God had given me his greatest treasures as I taught his children and watched them grow to bring their children and then their grandchildren. What a privilege He gave me.
And I sing humble and meek… meekness is not a trait I am known for in my circle of friends. Google defines meek as: “enduring injury with patience and without resentment; submissive.” These are not characteristics that have increased as I have aged. As an individual ages, we often begin to believe that we have the answers to everything. 😊 Meekness coupled with humble becomes a beautiful combination the more it grows, and I continue to pray that as his servant I acquire these qualities.
I tend to dwell on my weaknesses rather than lift those who are ‘weaker” than me. I used to walk three or four miles a day. So, I can’t do that anymore, but I can still walk and help those who need assistance of a cane or walker. I can shop and do errands for those who are in wheelchairs or bed-fast. Not three miles, but a few steps may be all that is necessary.
Once I had a very visible active role in my congregation. Because of circumstances of my choice that is not true at this stage in my life. However, so many people need an encouraging word, a time of prayer, or a pat of love. All lifting of the weak that I can still do.
So as these words linger with me today, I search my actions and pray again “Make me a servant today”
And whatever stage of life you may find yourself in today, I encourage you to join me in this prayer.
By Niki Packer
Last week’s Called and Confident blog about dreaming by Debbie Legg was very motivating to me. What would I do if I could only do one thing? What dream has God put in my heart? These questions excite me and make me want to talk and dream with God.
However, there is a theme that God has been repeating to me the last few weeks as it relates to dreaming big in God’s kingdom. It's something that doesn’t really excite me. It’s something that scares me and keeps me from dreaming. It’s a word I dread. The forbidden S-word. Sacrifice.
Sacrifice plays in big role in fulfilling dreams. In order to accomplish something, we have to give up something else. If we want to buy something, we give up money. If we want to vacation, we cut costs in other areas. If we want to go to college, we give up years of "regular" life and income. And if we want to see dreams come to fruition, there are countless things we'll have to give up along the way.
But maybe a better word for sacrifice in God's Kingdom would be EXCHANGE. I am giving up something, but what I'm receiving is way better.
In 2007 God gave me a dream for a Sunday night children’s program similar to a mini-VBS. We've now been doing the J-team ministry for 12 years and while it is fulfilling, it also means there’s a lot of work and sacrifices involved. Sundays are very long days for many of us while J-team is in session. There is much we have to exchange in order to plant Kingdom seeds in the children of our community. But the blessings are so much better than what we're giving up!
Invariably, the things that I think I want are never as good as what Jesus knows will fulfill me. When I trust Him, even in the sacrifices, the exchange rate I get is definitely in my favor! God never asks us to give up something just because He wants to see us suffer. He doesn't delight in watching us sacrifice for the sake of sacrifice. But He does love for us to trust Him enough that what we give up will never be better than what He gives us.
So the next time the Lord asks you to sacrifice something, try trusting Him that the exchange will be to your benefit and the blessings far greater than the sacrifices.
By Debbie Legg
“Essentialism isn’t about getting more done in less time. It’s about getting only the right things done.”
In one of my favorite books, Essentialism, Greg McKeown teaches how to find the right things, including your Point of Highest Contribution, and structure your life so you can do it.
I believe Jesus revealed his Point of Highest Contribution (PHC) when He announced Himself in the synagogue in Luke 4:
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor (Isaiah 61:1-2a)
Reading through the gospels shows me everything He did fit into these categories.
Nothing He did was a waste of time. Everything had purpose, and impact. Even His distractions, like stopping to address the bleeding woman while on the way to Jairus’ house, were perfectly timed divine appointments.
Jesus got the right things, and only the right things, done.
I’m learning to as well. My right things include responsibilities as a wife, mom, daughter, volunteer, and general doer of all things household. After much prayer and learning, I’ve discovered that my Point of Highest Contribution, outside of my daily life, is as a writer. I’ve been using the principles in Essentialism to cut out nonessentials and distractions so I have maximum time to write.
Let’s dream a minute.
What is your Point of Highest Contribution?
If you could do one thing and one thing only, what would it be?
Take some time and let your spirit and soul ponder this. Immediately discard any thought that starts with “yeah, but...” It’s not about what’s practical or realistic.
Would you start a homeless shelter? A daycare? Feed the hungry or clothe the needy? Would you provide logistical help to existing organizations? Plant trees or flowers? Cook meals? Work to free and heal victims of human trafficking?
If you could do this, and only this, what would your life look like?
What if everyone found their own individual Points of Highest Contribution and did that, and only that? Everyone would be happy and fulfilled, and the world would be an exponentially better place…
by Amy Kemp
Called and Confident Lessons from Babes
Psalm 8:2: "Nursing infants gurgle choruses about you; toddlers shout the songs that drown out enemy talk and silence atheist babble." (THE MESSAGE)
My 19-year-old daughter brought this scripture to my attention recently. She sent a simple text message that read, "Mom, explain Psalm 8:2 to me." I didn't recognize the verse as one that I might know by memory, and I waited until my devotion time to dive in. I read the above and paused.
After some thought, I shared the following with my daughter Belle:
“Sadly, there is so much I can't explain. Not because I don't read the meaning in the passage, because I do see incredible meaning here. But there is just something that happens when a woman births a baby and holds that baby in her arms. It is without words. So, some of my understanding from this verse I can't share with you because words will do no good. Once you hold a baby (your baby), you'll know.
Mostly, what I was thinking is that we are "too big for our britches." As we grow and mature, we add words to our vocabulary and our acts of service get bigger and bolder. We might not be out to impress God or man, but the nature of maturing is that we can do more and say more, so we do. However, the most innocent (the youngest among us) can communicate needs. Infants cry. Toddlers, when they learn even the simplest of language, sing. And, the scriptures say that this sort of communication, even at this stage of life, is enough to drown out enemy talk. Why? Because we represent God's handiwork.
Infants are close to God. Immediately before their birth (up to the second before exiting the birth canal), God is hand-crafting them in their mother's womb. His fingerprints are all over the skin of a newborn! How innocent and perfect! THAT. . .that moment, that cry coming from that baby. . .that is the most powerful, wonderful, God-honoring sound. It speaks to God's power and perfection. How did that baby know that at just the right moment he or she should take a breath of air? Because God whispered, "This is your time." From the depths of that infant (yes, their mouths but also their souls), God's authority is manifested.”
After I fired those words off to her, I marveled. You see, at 47 years of age, I'm somewhere between fully raising my own children into adulthood and becoming a grandma, with the honor of watching my children raise their own. The days of infants, right now, seem far behind me, but maybe not too far into my future.
I do have a son who, though not biologically mine, is mine nonetheless. He and his wife have three children. The youngest of which is my name sake, Charlie Sue. (Sue is my middle name as well.) Charlie Sue is 11 months old, and though she lives too many miles away from me, I've had the privilege of holding her as an infant (at only six weeks old) and listening to her gurgles. Now, this many months later, I've seen her mama and daddy call for her across the room, and I've watched as she wobbled to her hands and knees, trying valiantly to figure out how to crawl. I've seen her respond to those who call out to her. She hasn't mastered navigation yet, but she tries. Oh, does she try.
As a called and confident woman, here are a couple of take-aways from all of this. First, don't get too big for your britches. Keep your language and your acts of service simple. Take cues from toddlers and infants. Even their noises and shouts drown out atheist babble.
Second, look for the One who loves you and is calling to you. Find your way to Him; army crawl if you have to, but get to Him. Just like a babe learning to crawl and then walk and then run, remember the voice calling to you is the voice of the One who loves you. He will never leave you. You can have confidence in Him. He is calling you. Rest assured, He sees you trying to find your legs beneath you, and He is smiling with arms wide open.
There's just so much to learn from babes, isn't there?