Summary: We can be a blessing or we can be half of a blessing

Doing Only What You Ought to Have Done!

Sermon Prayer: “Heavenly Father, I stand before Your people, to deliver Your message. Though the words are mine and I prepared this message, I pray that this message is Your message in its entirety. I pray your blessing and anointing on the message, its delivery, its reception - and most of all, its application in our lives.” Amen

Weekend Message/Devotion

“The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!" The Lord replied, "If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it would obey you. "Who among you would say to your slave who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, 'Come here at once and take your place at the table'? Would you not rather say to him, 'Prepare supper for me, put on your apron and serve me while I eat and drink; later you may eat and drink'? Do you thank the slave for doing what was commanded? So, you also, when you have done all that you were ordered to do, say, 'We are worthless slaves; we have done only what we ought to have done!'" (Luke 17:5-10)

Perhaps you may be familiar with the following prayer of confession, practiced in many Protestant churches: (emphasis in italics for purpose of this message.)

“Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word and deed, by what we have done AND BY WHAT WE HAVE LEFT UNDONE. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name. Amen”

Off and on, God really deals with me about half-heartedly blessing others. He has directed me to go back and do it right. Let me give you three real, true life examples.

One – Years ago, God put it on my heart to mow my neighbor’s yard. I went over and mowed the front yard and left it looking nice. I felt so good about blessing my neighbor until God spoke to my heart saying, “If you are going to bless someone, don’t just give them a partial blessing- your neighbor also has a back yard.”

I was deflated and immediately went back and finished the job.

Two – Also years ago, I went next door and shoveled snow from the drive to the walkway of a neighbor’s house. As I was returning home, He got to me again. “What kind of a blessing is it to clear a way to the walk and not also clear the walkway?” Of course, you know the rest of that story.

Three – Because here on my street, no one is home in the daytime. On trash days, I always go around to eight close neighbors and put the trash carts and cans back up at the houses for them. It is a blessing and it is also less of an indication that no one is home for prowling eyes. Well one neighbor has four grown or nearly grown young men living at home. They do very little to maintain the premises. This morning. true to my routine, I went around taking cans from the curb up to the houses. I almost didn’t take that one trash container up to the house. I was telling myself that it would be a lesson in “tough love” and they didn’t deserve to have anyone serve them like that. WOW!! Both barrels this time. I was reminded of a point I made in a recent message about that word “deserve”.

None of us deserve the blessings that continually befall us, do we? Seriously, think about the blessings of our day to day lives and how many of them would be missing, if we had to qualify for them or actually deserve them?

In our daily prayers, Edna and I thank God for all the blessings of today and thank Him for the ones that we don’t recognize.

“So, you also, when you have done all that you were ordered to do, say, 'We are worthless slaves; we have done only what we ought to have done!'" (Luke 17:10)

We just don’t like to think of ourselves as slaves or even servants, do we? Yet, I tell you here and now, that the sense that serving others is a blessing in and of itself. It leaves us with a warm sense that not only have we pleased others but also pleased God. I don’t mean that as pride but when you know that you know, it is a good feeling.

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