As summer comes to a close and we move into the schedules and routines of fall, we have come to the final “My Beloved” letter in our summer series. The theme of this letter is servanthood. As I listen to conversations of my students and adults, I find that some are eager to move back into a routine that helps them find structure and more order to their days, others reluctantly let go of the lazy days of summer. I confess, I find it hard to move into a fall calendar when the temperature in Louisiana is still over ninety degrees! Yet, no matter how you feel about it, the new season has arrived with all of its energy, opportunities and challenges.
One question I’ve been asking myself is how the Lord would have me to serve year. Typically, I would probably have this figured out by now, my lists would be made and goals set. I find the Lord has me in a waiting season. I’m waiting for clear direction, not wanting to move ahead of His plans for me, waiting for the Holy Spirit to lead me.
One thing I know is that I don’t want to fill my calendar so full of projects or things, even good things, that I miss the people and relationships that Lord would have me invest in, nurture, and cherish. I don't want to miss the best He has for me. I imagine the loss of my dearest friend Melissa has caused me to stop and pause before taking another step or writing another list. This summer I have written of our journey through her illness in several blogs. Last week my friend's body was finally laid to rest because after her Celebration of Life Service the ground was too wet to bury her. And so we have had to wait for that final graveside closure. As her children, close family and friends gathered to say goodbye, her husband Perry spoke from his heart. I knew how he was dreading this moment. I could see his heart breaking as the grief and reality of life without his beloved Melissa had set in during the month that has passed since we last gathered for her service. But, he spoke through the pain. He encouraged us to be a part of carrying on her legacy, to tell others about her life. Melissa had wanted to write letters to all of her children and grandchildren before she passed, but when the cancer so quickly overtook her brain, that dream was no longer possible. As we sat there in front of her casket, many of us began to tell stories of her life...stories of her generous heart to serve...stories of her love that will live on...stories of the hope of seeing her again in heaven one day. It was beautiful.
As I listened, through the tears, it became evident that my friend had written those letters with the way she lived her life.
My mind went to one of my favorite Scriptures.
"You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. Such confidence we have through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life."
2 Corinthians 3:2-6 NIV
As believers in Jesus Christ, we are writing a book with our lives. Every day we begin with blank pages. I find it astounding that Almighty God has chosen to use you and me, human and frail, to accomplish His kingdom purposes here on earth. That truth can be overwhelming if we don’t understand that the power to accomplish the work is found in the Holy Spirit. Our lives are so full of possibilities, opportunities to respond to the divine author as we choose to trust and surrender to the transforming work of His Spirit within us. Jesus has a unique, pure and perfect message for each one of us; a story that He longs to write in the everyday details of our lives.
How we choose to live and serve tells the story
....a story that will live on beyond our time here on earth.
This morning in church we sang songs about faith;
faith that presses on in the name of Jesus through the storms of life, faith that lives on through the generations. During the singing, my mind wandered to memories of my grandmother, Meemaw, the daughter of a Methodist preacher. God used her life of faith to change my own. I remember singing the old hymns around the piano in her home and in the little country church where she was the choir director. Our pastor spoke about how the heavenly throng join their voices with us in worship as we sing.
And I thought of my Meemaw, my daddy, Melissa, and the multitude who have gone on before us worshipping around the throne; all who have written letters of faith with their lives of love and sacrificial service for Christ's glory.
His love within them spilled out into our lives and as a result,
their legacy, the letter of their lives, will live on throughout the generations.
When I read this Scripture from Ephesians, I am struck with these words - Be imitators of God...
How do we imitate God, the all powerful, all knowing, all wise God of the universe?
The Scripture tells us.
We remember that we are dearly loved.
We imitate Him by living a life of love and sacrifice.
We become the fragrant offering of Jesus as we seek
to serve Him and those He brings into our lives.
I love the following quote from Jo Kadleck in her book "Feast of Life."
“An attitude of service permeated Christ’s entire life, spilling over into his relationships, his words, his decisions, his emotions. Why did he weep over Jerusalem? Or cry for the death of his friend Lazarus? Because his heart was broken for others. Why did he allow Mary to wash his feet with her hair? Because he discerned what was best for her and loved her enough to let her give to him. Why did he go through Samaria and ask a woman of disrepute to draw water from the well for him? Because he wanted to affirm the social outcast, a “minority” woman who had not known grace or love or dignity in her society. And why did Jesus touch a leper, heal the blind man, provide bread for the masses, go to the cross, and shatter the tomb? Because he could not contain his love for others: his entire being wanted to bring healing and wholeness so others might know his Father in an intimate, life-giving relationship.”
As His beloved we have the privilege and responsibility of being servants with Christ. The joy and purpose in our service always flows from the depth of our love for the One who gave up everything for us.
Jesus came to serve. It was the vision and mission of His life.
As we enter this new season, I pray that we will humbly and prayerfully seek where, whom and how we might serve as His followers, for we are called to be like Him.
Spend a few moments and soak in the Scriptures found below in the last "My Beloved" Letter of this series.
The Word teaches us what true servanthood really looks like.
Come after Me. Deny yourself. Take up your cross and follow Me.
If you will choose to lose your life for My sake,you will find it.
When you exalt yourself, you will be humbled, but when you humble yourself you will be exalted.
You are greatest in My eyes when you choose to be a servant.
Yield to My authority in your life and you will discover the joy of submission and surrender.
In My life, I suffered in prayer, with tears, and with loud cries to “Abba” who could have saved Me from death.
I suffered in obedience and reverent submission to our Father so that I might become the source
of your eternal salvation. Will you, My beloved, submit to one another out of reverence to Me?
I did not come to be served, but to serve, and give My life as a ransom.
Come. I will lead you in triumphal procession. Through you I will spread My fragrance everywhere.
You are to the Father the aroma of Christ among the saved and the lost.
My dearly loved child, imitate God
and live a life of love, just as I loved you and gave Myself
as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
If you have any encouragement from being united with Me, if any comfort in My love,
if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion,
then make My joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourself.
Look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Let your attitude be the same as Mine. I made Myself nothing.
I did not cling to the advantages of my equal status with God.
When the time came, I set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave.
I became human. I humbled Myself and lived a selfless, obedient life
and then died a selfless, obedient death.
It was the worst kind of death, the cross.
Because of that obedience, God exalted Me
to the highest place and gave Me the name that is above every name
so that at the name Jesus every knee should bow in heaven and on earth
and under the earth and every tongue confess that I, Jesus Christ am Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
Come, draw near, My Beloved,
and let me wash your feet.
Let me dry your feet with the
tenderness of My Servant’s towel.
Yield to my Servant Lordship in your life.
Now that I, your Lord and Teacher,
have washed your feet, you should
also wash one another’s feet.
I have shown you how
by the example of My life.
Listen to these words of truth.
No servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.
Beloved one, go and do these things
and you will be blessed.
Mt. 10:39, Mt. 23:11,12, Heb. 5:7,8, Mk. 14:35,36, Eph. 5:21, Mark 10:45, 2 Cor. 2:14, 15, Eph.5:1,2, Phil. 2:1-11 Msg., John 13:12-17 NIV Bible
One of the ways that I love to serve is through Restore Ministry Retreats. For thirty one years, I had the privilege of serving in the church as a director in worship arts ministry to children and adults. Serving others is a beautiful calling in our lives, but it can weary us at times. Even Jesus understood the need to pull away and rest, spend time with the Father and be restored so that he might serve the lost and needy in our world. Perhaps you have come to that place in your journey where your spirit needs to be rekindled. Come, let us “wash your feet” by serving you on this beautiful retreat.
Maybe, you need to “Be Still” and soak in His presence, hear words of truth and let the music of healing worship
wash over you as draw you near to your Bridegroom, Jesus Christ.
Please consider joining us for our fall retreat, September 30-October 1.
We are praying for you, beloved.
Come, be restored that you might be better equipped to serve and “wash the feet” of others
wherever He leads you.
Your life is a living letter. May it be one that leaves a legacy of love and divine passion for Jesus
as you seek to fulfill His purpose for you, His beloved Bride.
Blessed to serve,
Resources: Living Water by Kathy Drake, Photos pinterest
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