Illustration results for servanthood
One of the earliest and the most outstanding intellectuals, leaders and defenders of the Christian faith was Augustine, the fourth century writer of the “Confessions of Saint Augustine,” one of the most famous tell-all autobiographies written. Young Augustine was a hedonist, a philosopher, an agnostic, and a rebel, but his mother Monica was a godly, persistent, and resourceful woman. Augustine often laughed at her mother’s pious ways, mocked her faith, and deliberately defied her continual pleading for him to repent of his pagan lifestyle, to convert to Christ, and to live an exemplary life. When Augustine wanted to leave the shores of Carthage, North Africa, for the bright lights of Rome, his mother feared the worst for her son, dreaded the outcome of his leaving, and often fled to the church for solace, prayer, and advice. In her despair, she would often weep uncontrollably for her son. One day a minister noticed her painful cries, and asked her why she was so bitter. She told him of his wayward son, but the bishop assured her with these words: “Go in peace; as you live, it cannot be that the son of these tears should perish.” Augustine avoided his mother as much as possible and ignored her warnings time and again, but he could not escape her continuous prayers. Monica painstakingly prayed, wept, and looked for her son for 30 years until Augustine surrendered his life to Christ. Life has its heartaches, and none is as heartbreaking as a rare, a stubborn, or an unspeakable illness that is dreaded for its physical onslaught, financial cost, and mental, emotional and physical toil. The Chinese saying, “Long-sick folks have no filial or obedient child by their bed.”
Sermon Central Staff
ATTITUDE NOT APTITUDE
Jesus' message here is that everybody can be great ... because anybody can serve. Dave Stone says that "service is the language of grace."
One day a couple of church members were out distributing loaves of bread in a low-income housing complex. They came to an apartment where they heard arguing through the door, but they decided to knock anyway. A man opened the door and asked what they wanted. One of the visitors said, "We don't want anything. We just wondered if you know anyone who could use some loaves of bread?"
"Why are you doing that?" the man asked.
"Just to let people know that God loves them."
"What did you just say?" the man asked, rather anxiously.
"We're just handing out loaves of bread to let people know that God loves them."
The man stared and said, "I can't believe this. We just buried our three-week-old son yesterday, and now here you are at our door."
The visitors offered to pray with them, and the couple accepted their offer. As they were leaving, and the door was being closed, they heard the husband say to his wife, "See, honey? I told you God cares. We thought he wasn't paying attention to us, but he sent those people here to make sure we knew."
Too many people make excuses as to why they can't serve. Can you bake a cake? Can you cook some food item? Can you cut someone's grass? Can you call people and give them an encouraging word? Can you do housework? Can you do handy work? Can you donate anything of value? Can you stop along your way and give a smile? Can you take an interest in someone else's life?
The big thing is that you have to be ready to serve. You have to open your eyes and your ears to the needs of others. 1 Pet. 4:10 -- "Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms."
(From a sermon by Michael Luke, The Demonstration Factor, 5/5/2011)
MOODY'S SERVANT'S HEART
A large group of European pastors came to one of D. L. Moody’s Northfield Bible Conferences in Massachusetts in the late 1800s. Following the European custom of the time, each guest put his shoes outside his room to be cleaned by the hall servants overnight. But of course this was America and there were no hall servants.
Walking the dormitory halls that night, Moody saw the shoes and determined not to embarrass his brothers. He mentioned the need to some ministerial students who were there, but met with only silence or pious excuses. Moody returned to the dorm, gathered up the shoes, and, alone in his room, the world’s only famous evangelist began to clean and polish the shoes. Only the unexpected arrival of a friend in the midst of the work revealed the secret.
When the foreign visitors opened their doors the next morning, their shoes were shined. They never know by whom. Moody told no one, but his friend told a few people, and during the rest of the conference, different men volunteered to shine the shoes in secret. Perhaps the episode is a vital insight into why God used D. L. Moody as He did. He was a man with a servant’s heart and that was the basis of his true greatness.
[Gary Inrig, A Call to Excellence, (Victor Books, a division of SP Publ., Wheaton, Ill; 1985), p. 98]
IF ONLY I COULD SLEEP AGAIN
David Jeremiah, the founder of World Vision, the international Christian relief agency tells a story about Bob Pierce. Pierce had advanced leukemia, but he went to visit a colleague in Indonesia before he died. As they were walking through a small village, they came upon a young girl lying on a bamboo mat next to a river. She was dying of cancer and had only a short time to live.
Bob was indignant. He demanded to know why she wasn’t in a clinic. But his friend explained that she was from the jungle and wished to spend her last days next to the river, where it was cool and familiar.
As Bob gazed at her, he felt such compassion that he got down on his knees in the mud, took her hand, and began stroking it. Although she didn’t understand him, he prayed for her. Afterward she looked up and said something. "What did she say?" Bob asked his friend.
His friend replied, "She said, ’If I could only sleep again, if I could only sleep again.’" It seemed that her pain was too great to allow her the relief of rest.
Bob began to weep. Then he reached into his pocket and took out his own sleeping pills, the ones his doctor had given him because the pain from his leukemia was too great for him to sleep at night.
He handed the bottle to his friend. "You make sure this young lady g...
think it was C H Spurgeon who had a lady come to him saying that she felt called to the ministry. Spurgeon asked about her home and family and when he heard she had 13 children he exclaimed, "Well, praise God, not only has he called you to the ministry but he’s given you a congregation as well!"
Illus.: Wise Use of Tools
James S. Hewett tells of a neighbor he had who was trying to put a TV antenna on his roof, but was having a terrible time. Hewett decided to give him a hand. He went over and took with him his best tools and soon had the antenna up. His neighbor asked him what he made with such fancy tools. Hewett replied, “Friends, mostly.”
Story of Encouragement:
Several months ago when I was seated on the bus at the terminal and going home from work, a woman showed a kindness that up to now I cannot forget.
The bus was still not full. I sat on the third row, by the window, on the driver’s side. It was nearly six p.m. but the driver showed no intention of getting the bus on the road.
I saw a middle-aged woman take a seat at the opposite side. She was crying. Without directly talking to anyone, she continued to cry and tell her story.
She came to the city to visit her daughter and was going back home to the province. On her way to the bus terminal, one of her bags were snatched and stolen from her.
She weepingly narrated that the bag had half of the money she brought with her. The other half was rolled in a hankie and hidden under her blouse so she still had some money left.
The bus conductor, driver and the other passengers all listened to her tale and tried to sympathize with her. Finally, after a few minutes, she stopped and took out some cheese bread from her bag and began to eat. Then I saw an old man in tattered clothes get on the bus and take the seat directly in front of the crying woman.
A few more minutes and all the seats were already taken and the driver got behind the wheel and got ready to move. The bus conductor took out tickets and began asking us where we’re getting off.
When he got to the old man, he got suspicious and asked if the old man had any money with him. The old man said no, but he knew where he was getting off. He said he spent all his money that morning when he accidentally got off the wrong bus.
Upon hearing this, the bus conductor told the old man that he couldn’t possibly ride the bus and ordered him to get off. The old man wouldn’t budge. He was near to crying and he begged the bus conductor to let him take that ride so he could go home. The driver heard what was happening and approached the old man and he, too, told the old man to get off.
The woman was listening and observing what was transpiring. When the bus driver and conductor started to raise their voices at the old man, she interfered. She said, "Stop harrassing him. Can’t you see he’s just trying to go home?"
"He doesn’t have money!" the driver told her in a loud voice.
"Well, that’s not reason enough!" she insisted. "Where will he get off and how much is his fare?"
The bus conductor mumbled the fare.
"Fine," said the woman and she reached between her blouse and took out her only remaining money. She gave it to the bus conductor. "Here’s his fare and mine. I’ll pay for him. It’s only money. Just stop giving him a hard time. Can’t you see he’s old and weak?"
That made all heads turn to the woman. Minutes before, we were watching her cry over the money she lost and now she was paying for the old man’s fare with what’s left of her money. Everyone, including me, felt humbled by the woman’s kindness and unselfishness.
Finally, the bus left the terminal. Not contented to pay for the old man’s fare, she gave him some of her food and a 50-peso bill. She smiled the rest of the trip.
© 2000 Shery Ma Belle Arrieta firstname.lastname@example.org
This is a true story, about a German artist named Albrecht Durer and one of his famous drawings, "The Praying Hands."
Durer’s Father was a goldsmith and apprenticed him in his early years to learn the family trade, but Durer loved painting and really wanted to be a painter. So his father finally gave in and agreed that he could go to Nuremberg to study art. Unfortunately though, his father wasn’t wealthy enough to support him, so he had to work as a labourer to support himself. The trouble was, this left him little time to work on his art. Now he had a friend, Franz Knigstein who was also a gifted artist and in the same boat, so they decided that they’d draw lots and one would support the other while he finished his studies and then he’d support the other out of his earnings as an artist. Well, they drew lots and Albrecht won. So Albrecht was able to devote himself to his art studies, but he agreed to support Franz after achieving success so his friend could finish his studies. Some years later Albrecht returned to find Franz so he could keep his end of the bargain. But when he got there he discovered what a sacrifice his friend had made for him.
You see as Franz had worked at his labour, his fingers had become twisted and stiff. His long, slender fingers and sensitive hands had been ruined for life. He could no longer manage the delicate brush strokes so necessary for executing fine paintings. But in spite of the price he had paid, Franz wasn’t bitter. He was happ...
On September 11, Lt. Col. Brian Birdwell (from U.S. Army Headquarters) had just stepped into a Pentagon hallway when the fireball from the hijacked plane hit him. After recovering from the initial shock, Birdwell realized he was on fire. "Jesus, I’m coming to see you," he remembers praying. When doctors finally attended to him at the Washington Burn Center, they found second- and third-degree burns over 40 percent of Birdwell’s body. To save him, they performed several skin graft operations. President George W. and First Lady Laura Bush visited the Washington Burn Center on September 13. Among those they visited was Birdwell. Laura Bush went into Brian’s room and spoke to him for about a minute, all the time as if they were life-long acquaintances. She then turned to Brian’s wife, Mel, who had been at the hospital for about two-and-a-half days. She was dirty, grimy, and wore a bloodstained shirt. Despite this, Laura hugged her for what Mel said seemed like an eternity, just as if Mel was one of her closest family members. Laura then told Brian and Mel that there was "someone" there to see him. The President walked in. Standing by Brian’s bedside, the President told Colonel Birdwell that he was very proud of them both and regarded them as heroes. The President then saluted Brian. Brian slowly began to return the salute, taking about 15 to 20 seconds to get his hand up to his head because of his bandaged arms. During all of this, President Bush never moved. He dropped his salute only when Brian was finished with his. Birdwell lives now with renewed purpose. "I’m a walking miracle. Christ got me out of the fire. In him not taking me, that means I have a mission to complete. He’ll tell me what it is in due time."
The whole area of service is a very important one in the Christian life. The importance can be seen in the difference between the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea in the Holy Land. The two bodies of water are connected by the Jordan River in a direct north-south line along the Great Rift Valley. Clear, sweet water from underground springs flows into the Sea of Galilee. And the Sea of Galilee flows south into the Jordan. Galilee is a gorgeous, active lake, full of life that has sustained fishermen in the region for millennia. The Dead Sea, by contrast, is a shallow, selfish basin with no outlet. It hoards the water that flows into it. Some water evaporates, leaving behind brackish, clouded water so dense that swimmers bob like corks. The whole sea is dead.
When we as Christians have no outlet of service, we too can become spiritually dead, and stagnant. Instead of our faith being attractive, life giving and fruitful, we become as off-putting as a stagnant pond.