"Preach the gospel at all times, if necessary use words." - St. Francis of Assisi

Friday, April 15, 2011

Lent Day 18 - Saturday, March 26

“The Son of Man (Jesus) did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as payment for many.” (Matthew 20:28)

“What’s in it for me?” “I’d be glad to help, but are you buying me lunch?” “Yeah, I can loan you a few bucks, but you’ll owe me big time!” “Leave me alone – I have rights!” How many times have you said, or thought, these or similar words? Somehow, society has acquired the mindset that we are all owed something from everyone else. We’re willing to do and help, but want to be repaid in some way. Again….”what’s in it for me?” The truly sad thing is that this attitude has even affected Christians, the ones who are supposed to be all about turning the other cheek and denying oneself.

Part of my Lenten journey, and hopefully yours, is getting out of our “selves” and focusing more on others. How and who can I help that needs unconditional help, which means that I don’t expect anything in return? In other words, volunteers. I can be very quick to write a check to a non-profit and/or charity so they can provide help….but how often do I actually plan to get my hands involved in the work? Am I willing to put my mouth where my checkbook is?

I could begin to list local organizations where our physical presence is needed, almost as much as financial donations are welcomed. The problem is that some would be left out, so for that, I apologize in advance. The ones I mention below are groups that I am, or have been, a part of in times past and still feel strongly about their support. Even though many are in my own Henry County, most other counties have similar organizations, too. So, take a Saturday afternoon, a weekday evening, a couple hours here and there to volunteer. Your heart will be blessed as much as those to whom you minister.

Assistance for women and children (Haven House, A Friends House), Food Banks (Helping in His Name), Pregnancy Resource/Crisis Centers, animal shelters (local humane societies, Noah’s Ark), Feeding the hungry in our own area and those around (Love Ministries), providing housing and shelter (Fuller Center Project – McDonough). See? I know I’ve left others out, but do your homework and find something that interests you and get involved.

Maybe this still isn’t what you can do, so look at your local church for opportunities. I have never known of a church that doesn’t need volunteers for community efforts (again, feeding the hungry, apartment ministries, assisted living or nursing home programs, packing shoeboxes for children overseas), to work with children and teenagers in sports programs, sending postcards or making telephone calls to those who are shut-in and cannot regularly attend church, spending time in the prayer room and sending a prayer-gram to someone in a difficult time or illness, greeting those who attend your church with a smile and an open door…it just takes a wee bit of effort to find somewhere to give of yourself.

Part of this season (for me) is to give time for others. Focusing on others. More about you. Less about me. More about God. Less about Jimmy.

Jesus did not come to be served as the Son of God. He came to be a servant. To serve others. To wash their feet. To teach us…you and me… how to be a servant. To not expect to get anything in return. Pray and look for ways you can do the same.

Blessed be the name of the LORD!


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