So often we emphasize what our faith does for us. Ask and you shall receive. Seek and you shall find. Knock and it will be opened to you. My yoke is easy and my burden is light. And there are many other verses in scripture that focus on how our faith is a source of strength and comfort.
It is also true that our faith requires much of us. To those to whom much is given, much is required. Take up your cross. The cross was the implement of crucifixion. Lay down your life for your friends. The way of Jesus is a way of complete self-giving. Jesus held nothing back.
We live in a consumer-driven culture. Our society treats people primarily as economic entities. In this context, it is easy to see our religion as a service provider. When we need work done on the house, we find someone who can do it. When we need healthcare, we find someone who can provide that service.
It’s a small step to see that trend in our religion. When we need service for the soul, we turn to the church. When we need comfort, assurance, strength, or forgiveness, we look to our faith as a ‘service provider.’ We expect our religious devotion to come through for us.
But we will never experience the full benefits of our faith until we realize that the way of Jesus calls us to be a service provider. To serve others. To be profligate in our generosity — of ourselves, our money, and our forgiveness. When we lay down our lives for others, for the common good, for the realm of God on Earth, we find the abundant life and fullness of joy that is promised to us in Jesus.
“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” — John 13:34-35
Prayer Focus – Won’t You Let Me Be Your Servant?
The words of a beautiful hymn center our hearts:
“Won’t you let me be your servant, let me be as Christ to you?
Pray that I may have the grace to let you be my servant, too.
“We are pilgrims on a journey, we are travelers on the road;
We are here to help each other go the mile and bear the load.
“I will hold the Christ-light for you in the shadow of your fear;
I will hold my hand out to you, speak the peace you long to hear.
“I will weep when you are weeping; when you laugh, I’ll laugh with you.
I will share your joy and sorrow till we’ve seen this journey through.
“When we sing to God in heaven we shall find such harmony,
Born of all we’ve known together of Christ’s love and agony.” Amen.
Words by Richard Gillard, 1977