Serving God: Strength That Is Rewarded

Serving God: Strength That Is Rewarded

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 third 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:
Strength That Is Rewarded

But in their distress they turned to the LORD, the God of Israel, and sought him, and he was found by them.  In those days it was not safe to travel about, for all the inhabitants of the lands were in great turmoil.  One nation was being crushed by another and one city by another, because God was troubling them with every kind of distress.  But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.
2 Chronicles 15:4-7 (NIV)

Who do you consider to be the strongest person you know?  Is it their physical strength or something else that makes you view them as strong?  What rewards have they received for their strength?  What rewards do they expect?  How motivated are you by rewards?  What types of rewards are most likely to get your attention?  At what point in a task are people most likely to be rewarded?  How does God’s promised reward help you to serve with strength each day?

Serving well requires an enormous amount of strength.  Sometimes it is a physical strength that is needed, but more often it is the strength of endurance that is the most difficult part.  It is to those who don’t give up and are faithful to the end that God promises the reward of life eternal with Him.

As you pray, ask God to help you live with an enduring strength that will be rewarded.  Pray that you would not become so focused on temporary rewards that you lose sight of the eternal reward.  Pray that you would see the lives of those you serve as being reason enough to keep serving in the strength that God gives.

In prayer,

Tom

Serving God: Contentment With God’s Presence

Serving God: Contentment With God’s Presence

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 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 God’s Presence

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’
Hebrews 13:5 (NIV)

If disaster were to strike and you only had time to save one physical possession, what would it be?  Why?  What things tend to lead people to a lifestyle of accumulation?  How should knowing God will never leave you help you to grow in a contentment with what you have?  Why does money seem to be such a huge distraction when it come to our having a growing relationship with God?  Are there times that you feel you need more than God’s presence?  Why?  How does having a contentment with God’s presence help you to serve others?   

If I don’t keep a close eye on myself, I can become a hoarder rather quickly.  For some reason, it can be easier to put my trust in things I can see and feel rather than in a God who has proven Himself trustworthy over and over again.  When our mind is set on accumulating, we tend to serve based on what we think we can get out of doing so.  However, when we learn to be content with God’s presence, it helps us to freely serve others knowing that we don’t have to gain anything from them.  As you pray, ask God to help you see His presence as being enough.  Pray that you would serve others freely, expecting nothing but a filling of God’s presence for doing so.

In prayer,

Tom

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