Social service and doing the Lord's work
Acts 6:3, 4 -
Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.
Some years back as I was sharing with a Catholic priest at his dining table I was introduced to a new young priest who had just come there. This priest was in Mumbai for his studies. When I inquired of him what he was doing he told me he was doing his papers (thesis) in social service. I was intrigued as to what they taught in it and he went on with the different theories and structural fundaments of social service. He also told me this was 3 - 4 years course (do not recollect exactly). When I asked him, how it would help him as a priest? He gave an answer which was confusing not only to me but even to him. Then my next statement hit him as boulder. I told him surprisingly the greatest among the social service icons like Mother Teresa did not need to do any course to serve the people.
Among the two myths the first myth which today's message addresses to is that many Christian think they need to study and get educational certification or learn some theories to serve the people in a better way. Here we see the Word of God talks of 3 necessities required to serve and these does not include a PhD or Masters.
The 3 factors one needs to serve God's people are honesty, wisdom and relationship with the Holy Spirit. Anyone lacking any one of these will find it difficult to truly serve the people. The greatest of all social service icons Mother Teresa is always looked by people thinking that it was the love in her that led her to be successful as a social service icon. But people who really know her will tell she was an honest person, very intelligent and had great love for the Lord and it was this that drove her success, to become a social service icon. But even she had problems in the latter half of her life because her weakness towards control on her anger started affecting her relationship with the Lord and thus she complained of darkness and distress in her last days.
The second myth which today's message address is that people think doing social service is doing the Lord's work. In today's message we see when the matter concerning social work was bought before the leaders of the Church; they did not brush it aside nor did they dive into it taking full charge of the operations. We see they knew their priorities right and they assigned people to do the work and dedicated themselves to more important things concern the Kingdom of God.
Serving the people is very important but does not mean serving God but is a part process of serving God. Any person not serving the people does not completely serve God. But one needs to get his or her priority right according to what the Lord has called him or her to do in His Kingdom.
Serving the Holy things of God like preaching the Gospel, teaching His Word, fellowshipping in the Body of Christ stands as priority number one. In second place comes serving God's people and lastly coming serving other people. Serving God's people does not mean only those who work for His Kingdom but all those who are His children. Jesus died for the sins of the children of God, those who believe in Him and said love each other (to His disciples - God's children) as I have loved you (a love unto death). Towards others who do not know God and do not have the seed of faith we still need to be merciful and thus love and serve them but do not need to give our lives up for them.
We are children of our Heavenly who in His mercy has manifested His love above all to this world. We being His children need to do the same, not our way but according to the Lord's way.
[ Prayer Starter ]
Lord, the Kingdom of God suffers because the people called to work for your Kingdom lack guiding. They do in worldly ways the things that are no of this world then they face problems and hurdles in their work and think these are the persecution You warned of. Lord, open the eyes of your people and guide them to fruitfulness of their efforts...
This prayer we make in Jesus' Name, Amen.
[ Reference Scriptures ]
1 And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.
2 Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables.
3 Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.
4 But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.
5 And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch:
6 Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them.
7 And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.
33 Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me: and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to you.
34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
35 By this shall all know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
1 John 4:7-8
7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
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