Serving

‘We serve God whether people honour us or despise us, whether they slander us or praise us.’ 2 Corinthians 6:8 NLT

We all probably know that Jesus calls us to serve others. But it’s not always easy. We can be faced with situations where we just don’t want to. Sometimes we’d rather focus on our own needs and our own progress. Other times, we’re faced with people we don’t get on with, who don’t appreciate what we’re doing for them, and will never serve us back.

But serving Jesus’ way means saying, ‘I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.’ (Galatians 2:20 NIV) If we’re struggling with serving, we need to check our attitude. Are we putting ourselves first? Are we remembering that we’re not really serving people, but serving God?

In Matthew 25:40 NIV, we’re told: ‘Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of Mine, you did for Me.’ Thinking like this will help us serve willingly and joyfully, even if we’re not getting anything in return. It can be easy to fall into the trap of serving in order to be recognised and appreciated by others, but God sees everything we do. Even when others don’t appreciate our efforts, God does.

Hebrews 6:10 NIV says: ‘God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them.’ Serving others requires us to have humility, to put ourselves and our egos below the needs of those we’re serving. We can think that our God-given gifts are for advancing ourselves, for being successful and gaining recognition. But the Bible says: ‘Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others.’ (1 Peter 4:10 NIV) Our gifts are actually to advance God’s Kingdom, and to serve others.

SoulFood: Job 40–42, Matt 26:47–56, Ps 72:1–11, Pro 9:1–6

word4today an adaptation of The Word For Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright © 2020

Today’s Readings

Job 40–42 ()

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40:1 And the LORD said to Job:

  “Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty?
    He who argues with God, let him answer it.”

Then Job answered the LORD and said:

  “Behold, I am of small account; what shall I answer you?
    I lay my hand on my mouth.
  I have spoken once, and I will not answer;
    twice, but I will proceed no further.”

Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said:

  “Dress for action like a man;
    I will question you, and you make it known to me.
  Will you even put me in the wrong?
    Will you condemn me that you may be in the right?
  Have you an arm like God,
    and can you thunder with a voice like his?
10   “Adorn yourself with majesty and dignity;
    clothe yourself with glory and splendor.
11   Pour out the overflowings of your anger,
    and look on everyone who is proud and abase him.
12   Look on everyone who is proud and bring him low
    and tread down the wicked where they stand.
13   Hide them all in the dust together;
    bind their faces in the world below.
14   Then will I also acknowledge to you
    that your own right hand can save you.
15   “Behold, Behemoth,
    which I made as I made you;
    he eats grass like an ox.
16   Behold, his strength in his loins,
    and his power in the muscles of his belly.
17   He makes his tail stiff like a cedar;
    the sinews of his thighs are knit together.
18   His bones are tubes of bronze,
    his limbs like bars of iron.
19   “He is the first of the works of God;
    let him who made him bring near his sword!
20   For the mountains yield food for him
    where all the wild beasts play.
21   Under the lotus plants he lies,
    in the shelter of the reeds and in the marsh.
22   For his shade the lotus trees cover him;
    the willows of the brook surround him.
23   Behold, if the river is turbulent he is not frightened;
    he is confident though Jordan rushes against his mouth.
24   Can one take him by his eyes,
    or pierce his nose with a snare?
41:1   “Can you draw out Leviathan with a fishhook
    or press down his tongue with a cord?
  Can you put a rope in his nose
    or pierce his jaw with a hook?
  Will he make many pleas to you?
    Will he speak to you soft words?
  Will he make a covenant with you
    to take him for your servant forever?
  Will you play with him as with a bird,
    or will you put him on a leash for your girls?
  Will traders bargain over him?
    Will they divide him up among the merchants?
  Can you fill his skin with harpoons
    or his head with fishing spears?
  Lay your hands on him;
    remember the battle—you will not do it again!
  Behold, the hope of a man is false;
    he is laid low even at the sight of him.
10   No one is so fierce that he dares to stir him up.
    Who then is he who can stand before me?
11   Who has first given to me, that I should repay him?
    Whatever is under the whole heaven is mine.
12   “I will not keep silence concerning his limbs,
    or his mighty strength, or his goodly frame.
13   Who can strip off his outer garment?
    Who would come near him with a bridle?
14   Who can open the doors of his face?
    Around his teeth is terror.
15   His back is made of rows of shields,
    shut up closely as with a seal.
16   One is so near to another
    that no air can come between them.
17   They are joined one to another;
    they clasp each other and cannot be separated.
18   His sneezings flash forth light,
    and his eyes are like the eyelids of the dawn.
19   Out of his mouth go flaming torches;
    sparks of fire leap forth.
20   Out of his nostrils comes forth smoke,
    as from a boiling pot and burning rushes.
21   His breath kindles coals,
    and a flame comes forth from his mouth.
22   In his neck abides strength,
    and terror dances before him.
23   The folds of his flesh stick together,
    firmly cast on him and immovable.
24   His heart is hard as a stone,
    hard as the lower millstone.
25   When he raises himself up, the mighty are afraid;
    at the crashing they are beside themselves.
26   Though the sword reaches him, it does not avail,
    nor the spear, the dart, or the javelin.
27   He counts iron as straw,
    and bronze as rotten wood.
28   The arrow cannot make him flee;
    for him, sling stones are turned to stubble.
29   Clubs are counted as stubble;
    he laughs at the rattle of javelins.
30   His underparts are like sharp potsherds;
    he spreads himself like a threshing sledge on the mire.
31   He makes the deep boil like a pot;
    he makes the sea like a pot of ointment.
32   Behind him he leaves a shining wake;
    one would think the deep to be white-haired.
33   On earth there is not his like,
    a creature without fear.
34   He sees everything that is high;
    he is king over all the sons of pride.”

42:1 Then Job answered the LORD and said:

  “I know that you can do all things,
    and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
  ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’
  Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand,
    things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.
  ‘Hear, and I will speak;
    I will question you, and you make it known to me.’
  I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear,
    but now my eye sees you;
  therefore I despise myself,
    and repent in dust and ashes.”

After the LORD had spoken these words to Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite: “My anger burns against you and against your two friends, for you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has. Now therefore take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and offer up a burnt offering for yourselves. And my servant Job shall pray for you, for I will accept his prayer not to deal with you according to your folly. For you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has.” So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went and did what the LORD had told them, and the LORD accepted Job's prayer.

10 And the LORD restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends. And the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before. 11 Then came to him all his brothers and sisters and all who had known him before, and ate bread with him in his house. And they showed him sympathy and comforted him for all the evil that the LORD had brought upon him. And each of them gave him a piece of money and a ring of gold.

12 And the LORD blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning. And he had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 yoke of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys. 13 He had also seven sons and three daughters. 14 And he called the name of the first daughter Jemimah, and the name of the second Keziah, and the name of the third Keren-happuch. 15 And in all the land there were no women so beautiful as Job's daughters. And their father gave them an inheritance among their brothers. 16 And after this Job lived 140 years, and saw his sons, and his sons' sons, four generations. 17 And Job died, an old man, and full of days.

Matthew 26:47–56 ()

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47 While he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a great crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people. 48 Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man; seize him.” 49 And he came up to Jesus at once and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” And he kissed him. 50 Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you came to do.” Then they came up and laid hands on Jesus and seized him. 51 And behold, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear. 52 Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. 53 Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?” 55 At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? Day after day I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. 56 But all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples left him and fled.

Psalm 72:1–11 ()

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Of Solomon.

72:1   Give the king your justice, O God,
    and your righteousness to the royal son!
  May he judge your people with righteousness,
    and your poor with justice!
  Let the mountains bear prosperity for the people,
    and the hills, in righteousness!
  May he defend the cause of the poor of the people,
    give deliverance to the children of the needy,
    and crush the oppressor!
  May they fear you while the sun endures,
    and as long as the moon, throughout all generations!
  May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass,
    like showers that water the earth!
  In his days may the righteous flourish,
    and peace abound, till the moon be no more!
  May he have dominion from sea to sea,
    and from the River to the ends of the earth!
  May desert tribes bow down before him,
    and his enemies lick the dust!
10   May the kings of Tarshish and of the coastlands
    render him tribute;
  may the kings of Sheba and Seba
    bring gifts!
11   May all kings fall down before him,
    all nations serve him!

Proverbs 9:1–6 ()

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9:1   Wisdom has built her house;
    she has hewn her seven pillars.
  She has slaughtered her beasts; she has mixed her wine;
    she has also set her table.
  She has sent out her young women to call
    from the highest places in the town,
  “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!”
    To him who lacks sense she says,
  “Come, eat of my bread
    and drink of the wine I have mixed.
  Leave your simple ways, and live,
    and walk in the way of insight.”

Wed 01 April, 2020


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