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February 25, 2014, 1:17 PM

A Serving Heart

"When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.  Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” NRSV MATTHEW 9:36-38


I invite you to contemplate the words written above. Study the words and listen as if you are in the crowd that surrounds Jesus....perhaps you stand right next to James, one of the "son's of Thunder." You would recognize him... he was the one that boasted he could drink from the same cup as Jesus....and would.

When you think about serving others—why do you do it? "Because I have to," is the common response. What if I told you today that you could serve because you want to not because you have to?

I think lent is a time for all us to learn from the heart, listen to the heart, and minister from the heart. Essentially we need to rediscover our gifts and talents and hone them for service to our neighbors and answering the call Jesus offers us.

What could happen in your life if you viewed serving not something you have to do to a view of something you want to do because you love God and love God's people? You love the people God has created and placed around you at church, home and in the community?

To serve from the heart I believe one needs to recognize that you work not for recognition but because you want to, because you feel the spirit in you. I believe that the joy, peace and light of Jesus shines from you. I believe we must stay spiritually fit. I believe you must lead by example and be a slave of everyone else..

Jesus is our model for service. I have never read that Jesus, after he healed someone, turn around to the crowd and say “Do you see that? Did you see what I just did? You cannot truly serve with a great heart, a heart of a servant if you expect recognition.

People came to Jesus from all over. He just oozed of Joy, of Peace, of Light. Again, imagine being in the crowd and watching Jesus. Oh the light that must shine from his face....the energy that must come from him....what strength is found! People could not get enough of him...."perhaps just a touch of his fringe..." I recall the prophet Nehemiah saying in 8:10, "For the joy of the Lord is your strength!"   I believe then to serve in the strength of Jesus we must serve with a heart of Joy and Light so others may see the strength of Jesus Christ.

If we serve in strength then we must be fit. In order to be fit spiritually we must as Paul states in 1Timothy 4:7, "Take the time and trouble to keep yourself spiritually fit. You must be disciplined...you must study...you must pray... you must keep your eyes and ears open.  Exercise your listening skills...look around...you will see what heavy lifting needs to be performed. Remember Jesus' yoke is easy...his burden is light. Just like in training or trying to loose weight...there are no shortcuts... NONE! So spiritual training takes maturity that can only be filled by Christ....Paul says, "The fullness of Christ."

Serving from the heart—so many of you are already doing it. You lead by example and folks will begin to recognize how to serve. My prayer for you this Lenten season is that you will be challenged to move to a higher level of service. I’m calling myself to that higher level of serving too. We are all in this together.

God is going ahead of you on your path. No matter your age today--God is already there, preparing your way, and calling to you to come and develop the heart of a servant.


Pastor Ken




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