Daily Devotionals

Making Service Personal

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Scripture:  “And Samuel said to all the house of Israel, ’If you are returning to the Lord with all your heart, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth from among you and direct your heart to the Lord and serve Him only, and He will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.’ So the people of Israel put away the Baals and the Ashtaroth, and they served the Lord only.” – 1 Samuel 7:3-4

I write this devotion from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, while sitting down after a day of cleaning up debris and seeing the lasting impact and devastation that the two hurricanes from last Fall have had on the Lake Charles area. It was humbling for me to see house after house that still have blue tarps on the roofs, businesses that are still sitting in ruin, houses that have long been abandoned, and parking lots that even now still have debris piles. Life right now for many in this area is hard, and hope is fleeting. 

Into this reality, the group we connected with walks in and seeks to serve God by doing a little bit of work and leaving a little bit more hope. The leader of our group was a pastor named Whitney, and as he showed us some of the other projects that various groups had worked on, one thing became evident. Whitney’s service was personal. His hours of service and dedication to the community had names. They were tangible people. He talked about people like Rachel and Jim, told stories and shared successes.  He mentioned challenging people and joy-filled neighbors.  

This challenged me. So often we talk about “serving” as fulfilling an obligation, but as Christians, aren’t we called to more? Shouldn’t we be people who share God’s amazing message of hope with those who feel hopeless?  Should we be giving glimpses of salvation to those that feel abandoned? Shouldn’t we be living into the Gospel in such a way that the message of Jesus’ forgiveness of our sins oozes through our actions or even our words? Shouldn’t our service, at least at times, have names?  Shouldn’t we be involved enough in the lives of those in need to know their stories?  

Friends, we are called to serve our Lord and our God. How are we doing at living that out? In what ways are you currently stepping out in humble, selfless service? 

Prayer: Gracious God, we thank you for the ways you continue to show up in our lives.  Help us to be people who are willing to show up in the lives of those in need. Give us humility, grant us courage, and equip us with the words and actions needed to speak your truth and do your work. Help us remember the amazing work of your Son, Jesus, and help us to live in gracious response to your amazing forgiveness and reconciliation.  Amen.

Submitted by Rev. Brian Marsh