Serving God: Contentment With Basic Needs

Serving God: Contentment With Basic Needs

It is my prayer that every Christian recognizes the importance of serving God through the way we serve others.  There are few things, if any, that are as emotionally exhilarating, and draining, as the task of serving others.  Having worked in a variety of ministry settings, including various roles within Christian camp ministry, I understand the excitement that often comes with the beginning of a new ministry or ministry season.  I also understand the weariness than can develop when our focus begins to drift away from the ministry of serving and onto ourselves.

This is day six in the second week of devotions from the book, “Serving God: Devotions for Active Worship”.  This devotional book is laid out in thirteen weeks of daily devotions with each week wrapped around an aspect of how we can serve others.  Each of these devotions are designed to help a person spend time with God to see how serving others is an act of worship.

Serving God:
Contentment With Basic Needs

But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.  People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.  For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
1 Timothy 6:8-10 (NIV)

What do you need?  What do you act like you need?  Would the lists of the answers to those two questions be different?  Why?  How difficult do you think it would be to actually be content if all you had was food and clothing?  What makes our “stuff” so hard to give up?  How might a lack of contentment with basic needs keep us from serving others as we should?  Do you think the people you serve need the same things you do?  Do you act like they need what you have?

Our culture has become very good at convincing us that most of the things we want are actually things that we need.  It hasn’t really been a hard sell because we tend to go out of our way to justify obtaining anything and everything that we think will make our life complete.  When called upon to serve, many people feel they can’t because they are enslaved to the payments required for all the things they simply can’t live without.  Yet when it comes to serving those who have less than us, how often do we refuse to share because “they don’t need all of those things”?  As you pray, ask God to help you learn contentment with less.  Pray that you would be more willing to serve as you learn the true needs that everyone has. 

In prayer,

Tom

Serving God: Contentment With Godliness

Serving God: Contentment With Godliness

It is my prayer that every Christian recognizes the importance of serving God through the way we serve others.  There are few things, if any, that are as emotionally exhilarating, and draining, as the task of serving others.  Having worked in a variety of ministry settings, including various roles within Christian camp ministry, I understand the excitement that often comes with the beginning of a new ministry or ministry season.  I also understand the weariness than can develop when our focus begins to drift away from the ministry of serving and onto ourselves.

This is day five in the second week of devotions from the book, “Serving God: Devotions for Active Worship”.  This devotional book is laid out in thirteen weeks of daily devotions with each week wrapped around an aspect of how we can serve others.  Each of these devotions are designed to help a person spend time with God to see how serving others is an act of worship.

Serving God:
Contentment With Godliness

But godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.  But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.
1 Timothy 6:6-8 (NIV)

Would you say you make every effort to live a godly life?  Why would you give the answer you did?  What do you hope to gain from a godly life?  How would you respond to someone who believes their godliness should result in immediate material gain?  What should be the purpose of living a godly life?  How does contentment reflect that purpose?  How are godliness and contentment related?  What examples can you give?  Would godliness without contentment be of any value?  Is it even possible?  Explain.

If you’ve lived very long you probably know someone who does their best to live by all the “godly rules”, yet is bitter about “having” to do so.  There are people who believe they have made all of the correct life choices yet have somehow missed out on the best parts of life.  Without the contentment that comes from a complete trust and surrender to God, being a legalistic follower of the rules will often lead to regret rather than relationship.  As you pray, ask God to fill you with a desire to pursue both godliness and contentment.  Pray that your life would be a reflection of both the godliness and contentment displayed in the life of Jesus.

In prayer,

Tom

Serving God: Contentment In All Circumstances

Serving God: Contentment In All Circumstances

It is my prayer that every Christian recognizes the importance of serving God through the way we serve others.  There are few things, if any, that are as emotionally exhilarating, and draining, as the task of serving others.  Having worked in a variety of ministry settings, including various roles within Christian camp ministry, I understand the excitement that often comes with the beginning of a new ministry or ministry season.  I also understand the weariness than can develop when our focus begins to drift away from the ministry of serving and onto ourselves.

This is day four in the second week of devotions from the book, “Serving God: Devotions for Active Worship”.  This devotional book is laid out in thirteen weeks of daily devotions with each week wrapped around an aspect of how we can serve others.  Each of these devotions are designed to help a person spend time with God to see how serving others is an act of worship.

Serving God:
Contentment In All Circumstances

“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:11-13 (NIV)

How often do you find your level of contentment fluctuating based on your circumstances?  Should it?  Does your contentment in serving change based on the circumstances of who you are serving or what you are asked to do?  Is it easier for you to serve someone who appears to need help or someone you think doesn’t need your help?  What do you think the secret of contentment is that Paul talks about in today’s verse (hint: read verse 13 also)?  How does knowing that God desires to give you the strength to do everything He calls you to do help you to serve with contentment?

Each of us have different things that bring us satisfaction and make contentment more likely in our lives.  For some it is financial or material reward.  For others it is being recognized or honored for what we do.  Still others have great contentment when they see the lives of people changed as a result of the effort they have given.  Whatever is our “reward” of choice, we will all have times when that reward doesn’t come and we must choose to be content in the circumstances we face.  As you pray, ask God to help you have contentment as you are faithful in all circumstances.  Pray that your serving of others would not be based on how you feel.

In prayer,

Tom

Serving God: Contentment With Pay

Serving God: Contentment With Pay

It is my prayer that every Christian recognizes the importance of serving God through the way we serve others.  There are few things, if any, that are as emotionally exhilarating, and draining, as the task of serving others.  Having worked in a variety of ministry settings, including various roles within Christian camp ministry, I understand the excitement that often comes with the beginning of a new ministry or ministry season.  I also understand the weariness than can develop when our focus begins to drift away from the ministry of serving and onto ourselves.

This is day three in the second week of devotions from the book, “Serving God: Devotions for Active Worship”.  This devotional book is laid out in thirteen weeks of daily devotions with each week wrapped around an aspect of how we can serve others.  Each of these devotions are designed to help a person spend time with God to see how serving others is an act of worship.

Serving God:
Contentment With Pay

“Tax collectors also came to be baptized. ‘Teacher,’ they asked, ‘what should we do?’  ‘Don’t collect any more than you are required to,’ he told them.  Then some soldiers asked him, ‘And what should we do?’  He replied, ‘Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely — be content with your pay.’
Luke 3:12-14 (NIV)

How much do you get paid?  Is it enough?  Do you think those are appropriate questions?  What do you think leads to the discontentment that many have with their pay?  How does your contentment, or lack of contentment, with your pay affect the way you serve?  Why?  Have you ever done less than you know you could have because, “I don’t get paid to do that!”?    Does your level of contentment with your pay say more about those paying you or about you?  What does it say about your view of those you are serving?

In a culture that measures worth by financial accumulation, there are few things that get us riled up as quickly as feeling unappreciated, overworked, and underpaid.  I know, I’ve allowed my mind to entertain those thoughts at various times in my life.  Experience says that the thing that suffers the most when we are not content with our pay, is the level of service given to those we are called to serve.  As you pray, ask God to help you know how to be content with your income.  Pray that the people you serve would not be “short-changed” because of your dissatisfaction with your pay.  Pray that the people around you would know you as one who “works for the Lord”.

In prayer,

Tom

Serving God: Contentment Through a Fear of the Lord

Serving God: Contentment Through a Fear of the Lord

It is my prayer that every Christian recognizes the importance of serving God through the way we serve others.  There are few things, if any, that are as emotionally exhilarating, and draining, as the task of serving others.  Having worked in a variety of ministry settings, including various roles within Christian camp ministry, I understand the excitement that often comes with the beginning of a new ministry or ministry season.  I also understand the weariness than can develop when our focus begins to drift away from the ministry of serving and onto ourselves.

This is day two in the second week of devotions from the book, “Serving God: Devotions for Active Worship”.  This devotional book is laid out in thirteen weeks of daily devotions with each week wrapped around an aspect of how we can serve others.  Each of these devotions are designed to help a person spend time with God to see how serving others is an act of worship.

Serving God:
Contentment Through a Fear of the Lord

“The fear of the LORD leads to life: Then one rests content, untouched by trouble.
Proverbs 19:23 (NIV)

Is a fear of the Lord a good thing or bad thing to you?  Why?  Are there different ways to fear the Lord?  Should how we fear the Lord be different based on our relationship with Him?  Are there people in your life with whom you are content to just be with because of your great respect for them?  What leads to that level of contentment in their presence?  How would having a greater trust and respect for God lead to greater contentment in your life?  How does your fear of the Lord help you to serve with greater contentment?

When I bought my first car a few months before I turned 16, my parents told me that if I wrecked it, the keys would belong to them.  A few months after my 16th birthday, I took a curve too fast and slid off the road and into a fence requiring a tow truck to get me back on the road.  When I arrived home, the first thing I did was to give my keys to my parents.  Not that I was ever “afraid” of them, but the great respect I have for my parents led me to be content in doing what they had asked.  As you pray, ask God to help you to see that a proper fear of the Lord can lead you to great contentment.  Pray that you would learn to serve others with contentment because you fear God.

In prayer,

Tom

Serving God: Contentment As a Part of God’s Commands

Serving God: Contentment As a Part of God’s Commands

It is my prayer that every Christian recognizes the importance of serving God through the way we serve others.  There are few things, if any, that are as emotionally exhilarating, and draining, as the task of serving others.  Having worked in a variety of ministry settings, including various roles within Christian camp ministry, I understand the excitement that often comes with the beginning of a new ministry or ministry season.  I also understand the weariness than can develop when our focus begins to drift away from the ministry of serving and onto ourselves.

This is day one in the second week of devotions from the book, “Serving God: Devotions for Active Worship”.  This devotional book is laid out in thirteen weeks of daily devotions with each week wrapped around an aspect of how we can serve others.  Each of these devotions are designed to help a person spend time with God to see how serving others is an act of worship.

Serving God:
Contentment As a Part of God’s Commands

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife. You shall not set your desire on your neighbor’s house or land, his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
Deuteronomy 5:21 (NIV)

Are there things that you want, or want more of, just because you see someone else have them?  What are some of those things?  How effective is visual advertising in getting you to think you need something?  With the costs of 30-second advertisements during events like the Super Bowl in the millions of dollars, how effective do you think companies believe visual advertising is?  How would a lifestyle of contentment help you to live obediently to God’s command to not covet?  Why do you think contentment would be such an important quality in the lives of those who serve?

Doing the right thing has always been a core part of who I am.  Not that I have always chosen the right thing, but the desire to do so seems to have been imbedded in me by my parents and by God Himself.  Our society makes living with an attitude of contentment a very difficult thing to do.  Knowing that God commands me to be content, to not covet what others have, helps me have a desire to be satisfied with what He gives me.  As you pray, ask God to help you understand His desire for you to be content.  Pray that you would be able to serve others effectively because of your obedience to God’s commands.

In prayer,

Tom

Serving God: Serve to Be Like Christ

Serving God: Serve to Be Like Christ

It is my prayer that every Christian recognizes the importance of serving God through the way we serve others.  There are few things, if any, that are as emotionally exhilarating, and draining, as the task of serving others.  Having worked in a variety of ministry settings, including various roles within Christian camp ministry, I understand the excitement that often comes with the beginning of a new ministry or ministry season.  I also understand the weariness than can develop when our focus begins to drift away from the ministry of serving and onto ourselves.

This is day seven in the first week of devotions from the book, “Serving God: Devotions for Active Worship”.  This devotional book is laid out in thirteen weeks of daily devotions with each week wrapped around an aspect of how we can serve others.  Each of these devotions are designed to help a person spend time with God to see how serving others is an act of worship.

Serving God:
Serve to Be Like Christ

Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave — just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
Matthew 20:26-28 (NIV)

Who are some people that you have wanted to be like during your life so far?  Why?  Have there been people in various leadership roles over you that you would not want to be like?  Why?  Do you respond better to someone who works with you on a task or to someone who watches from a distance as they tell you exactly how to do it their way?  How would you define servant leadership?  Do you think it is really possible to become great by serving?  Who have you avoided serving that you need to serve this week?

Several times in the gospels, the disciples seem to try to figure out a “pecking order” — who was the greatest, who deserved the place of highest honor.  It seems to be our natural tendency to do everything in our power to be the one being served rather than the one serving.  However, if it is our desire to be like Christ then we must adopt His attitude and practice of becoming servant of all.  As you pray, ask God to empty your heart and mind of all pride that keeps you from serving.  Pray that you would follow the example of Christ in serving others for their benefit.

In prayer,

Tom

Serving God: Serve By Encouraging

Serving God: Serve By Encouraging

It is my prayer that every Christian recognizes the importance of serving God through the way we serve others.  There are few things, if any, that are as emotionally exhilarating, and draining, as the task of serving others.  Having worked in a variety of ministry settings, including various roles within Christian camp ministry, I understand the excitement that often comes with the beginning of a new ministry or ministry season.  I also understand the weariness than can develop when our focus begins to drift away from the ministry of serving and onto ourselves.

This is day six in the first week of devotions from the book, “Serving God: Devotions for Active Worship”.  This devotional book is laid out in thirteen weeks of daily devotions with each week wrapped around an aspect of how we can serve others.  Each of these devotions are designed to help a person spend time with God to see how serving others is an act of worship.

Serving God:
Serve By Encouraging

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.  Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Hebrews 10:24-25 (NIV)

What is the most encouraging thing anyone has ever said to you or done for you?  What made it so?  How often do you like to be encouraged?  How often do you encourage others?  What are some things you could do this week to encourage the people around you?  Would it help if you knew what they received encouragement from?  How would you know?  Do you find the gathering together as a staff encouraging?  Why or why not?  What can you do to make it more encouraging?

The writer of Hebrews tells us that we should purposefully come together as a group to encourage one another.  As the days draw nearer to the return of Christ it is even more important that we spur one another on in remaining faithful to our calling in Christ Jesus.  If you haven’t noticed, life has a way of discouraging everyone at some time or another.  God has given us the task of encouraging others so that they too would be able to encourage us.  As you pray, ask God to help you to see the value in meeting together with fellow believers.  Pray that your life would be an encouragement to others as you meet together with an eternal perspective.

In prayer,

Tom