Are there times in your Christian journey when you seem to have lost your joy or excitement? Times that maybe your zeal is gone, or at least running low. I believe this can happen for a variety of reasons. Maybe things are not going the way we had hoped; maybe we do not see tangible results in the ministry we are doing; maybe life has gotten really busy. Whatever the reason, the question is, “how can we get that zeal, that joy, and excitement back (Psalms 51:12)?”
We have all heard some answers that are great answers, such as get in the Word and it will get into you. This deals with my discipleship and my faith (Romans 10:17). Another answer is to pray more, which deals with my relationship with Christ. Both are great answers and we need to be doing them. But if it seems you are just going through the motions and your joy level is low, there is something else I want to recommend.
Since this is Holy Week, I wanted to write about something that happened during that week. Today, I want us to think about the significance of the Last Supper or, in particular, what happened right after the meal.
It’s been said that when a person knows they are about to die, listen to the things they talk about. Subjects such as sports and weather will not come up, but they will discuss things that are important to them. This is the way it was with Jesus. He knew His time had come to go to the cross (John 13:1). He had spent three and a half years working beside the disciples. They watched him preach and teach, heal people, touch people, care for everyone he came in contact with. But here they are, still arguing over seating arrangements (Mark 10:35-45).
After supper had ended (remember Christ knew this would be one of the last lessons He would teach his disciples), he got up, took a basin of water, and proceeded to wash the disciple’s feet. Here He is teaching them, with a vivid illustration, what His kingdom was about—serving others (John 13:14-15).
Scripture tells us that we were created to do good things (Ephesians 2:10). God created you to make a difference where you are. In this consumer-based society we live, your purpose is not to consume but to contribute to those around you. It is about serving one another (1 Peter 4:10). Many times people are searching for where they can get their self-esteem, self-worth, and significance while, all the time, these things are found in Christ, His example, and His will for our lives. I believe one of the most encouraging and fulfilling things we can do is serve other people.
You may ask, “How I can serve?” It simply starts with our being available. Think about the life of Jesus; His was a life of interruptions. He is on His way to one place, and someone would call out to Him, and He would stop and minister to them. His first miracle was an interruption at a wedding and His second was an interruption on the way to Galilee. We must be willing to stop what we are doing to take time to touch someone God has put in our path. At the end of the day, you may find the best part of the day was an interruption, an unplanned event that both surprised and touched you.
But we must be careful, because many things can hinder us from being able to serve others. The first is self-centeredness (Philippians 2:4). We are taught this in every radio and television commercial…that it’s all about us. Another barrier is perfectionism. We will only do it if we can do it perfectly, or we will not do it at all. Always remember, if God only used perfect people, would anything get done (Eccl. 11:4)? God doesn’t call the qualified, but He qualifies the called. The last barrier I am going to mention is materialism. This one ties into the first one. If life is always about getting all I can and canning all I get, I will never focus on others.
The second way we can serve like Jesus is to be grateful. This deals with our attitude. As a child of God, we have been forgiven by His grace and mercy. When His grace stops being amazing to us, something is wrong. I should always have a grateful heart (Psalm 100:2), and thereby, I will have a desire to serve those around me. To keep my heart right in this area, I must be careful about comparing myself to others and about criticizing others. All of our gift mixes are different, and I must be happy with what God has given me and use it to the fullest extent I can, with His help. It is never right for me to put others down. All of this can make me lose my focus on serving others. Also, my motivation must be right. It is never about self-promotion. I do not need to tell everyone about the good things I have done (Matthew 6:1).
Lastly, we must be faithful (1 Corinthians 4:2). God has called us to be faithful. Sometimes people minimize what we do, but always remember that little is much when God is in it (Zechariah 4:10). God does His greatness, many times, through small things such as a smooth stone, a rod, a donkey’s jawbone, a widow’s mite, a mustard seed, or a scarlet cord. If He can take the happy meal of a little boy and feed 5,000, know that He can use you and me to do great things.
I heard the story about two teenage boys who tried to go into a church service except, because of how full it was, they could find no seats. They decided to leave, but as they were leaving, an usher noticed them and helped them find two seats together. At the end of the service that night both boys accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior. One of those boys was named Billy Graham, who would go on to lead millions to Christ. We may not know that usher’s name, but we sure know his legacy.
Don’t ever think that what you are doing doesn’t matter. Don’t mistake anonymous with insignificant or even unnecessary. The work we do for God is found in how we serve others (Hebrews 6:10).
Here was John Wesley’s motto: Do all the good you can by all the means you can by all the ways you can in all the places you can and at all the times you can to all the people you can as long as you ever can.