I used to feel entitled when it comes to serving. “I volunteer at church and I am not even given a single piece of bread.” When I work at church, we are the last one to eat – that is – if there is any food left. If there isn’t, then I’d have to buy my own food, while everyone else is eating heavy dinner.
But things have changed for me as I come to understand that this is the heart of Jesus – to serve, not to be served. To empty himself for the good of others. And slowly my sense of entitlement peeled away as He molds me into a servant leader.
Seven baskets for seven disciples
In Mark 8, Jesus feeds four thousand people from seven loaves of bread and a few fishes. After feeding the crowd, the seven disciples gathered the broken pieces of bread from the ground and gathered seven basketfuls. Jesus and his disciples left on a boat but the disciples forgot to bring the excess bread baskets. They got only one loaf which they are supposed to share among themselves.
They discussed about having no food, which is pefectly understandable because they served and are tired and hungry. But also perfectly stupid since Jesus just fed four thousand people with just seven loaves! That is multiplying the seven loaves by more than 500%! Jesus said to them, “Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened?” (Mark 8:17)
There were seven basketful of loaves because there were seven disciples.
Today, I no longer ask, “What’s in it for me?” And getting hungry is okay if it means I can have the privilege of serving others. God surely provides in basketfuls. I’ve understood the heart of servant leadership – and I believe the disciples did too.
P.S. Isn’t it amazing that there were exactly seven basketful of bread when there were seven disciples, and exactly twelve basketful of bread when there were twelve disciples? (John 6) I mean to multiply bread is a miracle in itself, but to perfectly calculate the excess is even more mindblowing.
Things just seem to be falling apart today.
Last night, my dgroup did our first evangelism activity for the year and shared the gospel to four people. It was a joy and a revelation to know the common answer to the question, “Do you think you are a good person?” Everyone said yes. Then we shared how they compared to God’s standards and their need for Jesus.
The same night however, I got bit by Zorro or Cody or Lucas, I am not really sure who. He bit my left thumb and it bled. But what’s worse is that the bite damaged my cuticle and cracked my nail bed. It was so painful overnight and even until now (the next day at lunch time). The pain was kumikirot, and I wasn’t able to sleep. I even took Advil which barely alleviated the pain.
I also went to the dentist. My appointment was at 10 am, but I was called in past 10:30. I was planning to go RITM after my dentist but because I was called late, I couldn’t make it.
Last night as I lay down and tossed back and forth, I was grateful that I do not normally feel this intense pain in my entire body. I also prayed to God asking for healing. I said my foot has not been healed despite many prayers from many people, my heart isn’t healed either, then I am asking for another healing. Not a single prayer for healing is coming through.
So I am really discouraged today with physical pain piling up on my plate. I don’t know what to do because my wound seems to have pus developing and it’s really painful constantly. Though I also know that this is nothing compared to what Jesus experienced. I barely slept. And there are expectations from me. I need to be at the reg booth tonight, how am I supposed to carry stuff and entertain people with this painful thumb?
It’s strange how strong I can come across but with just a roller coaster of emotions, I’d be so discouraged and cry. And I know though, in moments like these, I wish I had a boyfriend, a husband who would comfort me and take care of me, bring me to the hospital, dress my wound. I know that God sees my pains both physically and emotionally and he has a purpose. His grace is sufficient.
Philippians 1:3-11 talks about how the Philippian church supported Paul in his ministries. Few chapters later, he mentions that the church of Philippi is the only church that supported him. Looking back in Acts, Lydia was a new convert who took care of Paul and Silas after they were beaten.
In this chapter, Paul also encouraged the church to continue in love and grow in knowledge in discernment.
We can see two important things. First, it is our job to support the church selflessly so that gospel reaches other people. The Philippians supported Paul in his missions and as a result, the gospel was preached. Second, growth in Christ shouldn’t stop. A a church, we have to continue loving each other in real knowledge and discernment for the glory of Christ. That means we need to love based on Christ’s love.
It is a reminder for me that the money I give to God goes a long way in having the gospel heard. We all have parts in sharing the gospel, albeit some are called to be fulltime missionaries like Paul, some are like Lydia and the rest of the Philippians who through prayers and supplication, make the missions possible.
As I read Romans 9 and 10, I am reminded of Paul’s passion for those who have not heard of Christ yet. And I also saw how selfish my prayers are that all requests for myself.
He felt deep sorrow and unceasing anguish. Though he was persectured by the Jews, he loved them so much that he would rather be cut off from Christ if it meant that his brothers will be saved.
He also mentions that for people to come to salvation:
- Someone must go
- Someone must share
- Hearer must believe and call upon the name of the Lord (Romans 10:13)
With evangelism being the number one priority of my downline this 2017, I feel like this devo at the start of the year is even a stronger confirmation of our 2017 assignment.
I pray that I would have a heart for the lost and the same passion as Paul has. I hope that my heart wrenches in pain not for my broken past, but for the present people who are dying everyday without God.
Romans 10:1 My heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved.
Father, I ask that I desire this more than my personal requests. That I do not have a myopic and selfish view of the world. May I walk and reflect you in small and big actions. May I be able to preach the gospel clearly and as simple as it is. I pray for boldness and familiarity with the gospel. A heart for the lost that does not seek to win in logical arguments but to have a compassion for them. I pray that I see the reality of life, that eternity is at stake.
When I remember all the romantic things he did for me, I die a little inside.
He was the most romantic person. We both were. But I don’t want to reminisce them because even as I type this my eyes are watering because I miss him and having him and being with him and being his.
So I’ll tuck those memories inside me and try to slay these beasts, as I have been doing so daily in the past three years. Hopefully one day, they no longer remind me of who left me.
Though I say that God is enough – and He is – my heart longs to be swept away again and belong to someone. But I don’t want any whirlwind romance. I am praying for someone who would love me enough not just to marry me, but to love me daily afterwards. Not just in little and grand romantic gestures, but in the way he would protect me, pray for me, lead me. I hope the next would give his everything, keep his word, respect me and honor me. I hope to have unconditional love and the best kind of friendship. I hope it is filled with laughter and fun. A love marked with selflessness and honesty. Even when circumstances are pressing in, he would still choose to stay – and the thought of losing me will not even cross his mind.
I hope it’s a kind of love that pushes me closer and closer to Christ.
(P.S. maybe it’s my hormones writing this because of PMS)
It’s me again. Running back to You after I’ve been hurt repeatedly, for following my heart. I imagine myself crying on Your lap. And You allowing me to cry my eyes out on the same hurt. Words no longer spill out. My heart is tired and torn. I feel like my emotions are suspended in mid-air as I grasp for the right words to define what I feel. But they don’t come out.
The tug-of- war wages on. Waves of emotions drown me. I am thrown back and forth between what my heart desires and the dilemma of following You. It’s so easy to say I trust You and want to obey You. But when I do follow you, I don’t find myself happy. Happy. Does my happiness even matter to You? There are times when I am so joyful and content with You. Times when tears run down my face when my joy is complete and I tell You that I am so in love with You. And then there are times when I am discontent and don’t want to follow You. Because it costs too much. Because it is uncomfortable. Because I have to deny my own desires.
John Piper said that You are most glorified when I am most satisfied in You. He said that my happiness lies in obeying You. That the two lines, the Line of Happiness and the Line of Obedience are one and the same, not two parallel lines never intersecting together. But why do I not feel that way all the time?
Why does it feel like all the hurt are just underneath? Buried temporarily and waiting to be unearthed over and over again?
On days like these, I understand what Pastor Jonathan said about wanting to go to heaven now. I just want to escape all these difficulties. I want my joy in you to be complete, all the time. I don’t want the struggle of having to deny my emotions and desires so I can please You. I don’t want these tests. I don’t want temporary healings. I don’t want tears to run down my cheeks because I am hurting. I only want happy tears to run down my cheeks. I want to forget all the hurt. All the unfulfilled promises that continually breaks my heart. I want to be where there will be no tears.
I’m struggling to believe that You truly love me, if You only answer prayers that glorify You. How about me? Yes I am Your servant, yet I am also Your child. Is my happiness tied to my obedience?
First of, thank you for restoring our relationship. I feel better now.
Today, I went to two events. First was a dgroup event with Ef. It was ok but When Hope, Ef and Marianne are together, they are just so loud I can’t stand it. And they are so different from me. But there’s really no perfect group. But I am also stressed at extremely extroverted people.
The second event was a surprise birthday for Mia, where her friend got angry because I was late… he’s not really a “kind” person but I guess he just really loves Mia as a good friend. I was tempted to bite back but I was reminded to do good to everyone as you have commanded.
The night was fun because we played board games and had burgers for dinner. However, I found myself out of place, hurt and teary-eyed because I am a Christian. Their jokes were mostly green – around 70%. I found myself awkwardly faking smiles and being quiet. I also realized how truly narrow the road is to heaven. People don’t know you, don’t find the need for you and they are merrily living their lives. And I, on the other hand, am living a sheltered life surrounded by believers. I have been sheltered for so long that I no longer know how to interact with the unsaved.
I cried a bit driving home as I contemplated their spiritual lives. Dead. And I saw where they are headed. I prayed for them. And I wanted to go out and share You. If everyone has a “sickness/emptiness” how come You are not always the automatic answer? How come people have a hard time believing in you? How come I am corny? Kill joy? How do I share the gospel if I cannot socialize with them properly?
When I got home, I told Hope how I felt.
And I also wished I had someone to share how I feel right now. And he would comfort me. But more than that, someone who would have the same burden or be my partner in ministering. I would be less alone in this walk with You.
Open doors for me to share your good news. And help me and my girls to share your word in 2017, passionately.
In Jesus name,