Friday, January 20, 2017

Above All

Above all, love each other deeply…Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.  God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts.  Use them well to serve one another…” 1 Peter 4:8-10.

I remember after both my sister and dad passed on to Heaven my church approached me to facilitate Grief Share, a support group of those walking through the death of loved ones.  At the time my father-in-law who suffered with Alzheimer’s lived with us.  My first response was that I had just recently lost family members and wasn’t very far along in my own grief.  The other concern was the overwhelming emotional and physical state of caring for Bruce’s father at that time.  After prayer and meditation, I hesitantly accepted.  I can tell you that it was the best thing for me at the time.  Little did I know that through facilitating the pain of the others, I would be comforted.  Nowhere on my heart’s radar did I understand that through my teaching I would be the student.  As I dispersed God’s compassion to others I received His.  As I shared the life-giving words of the Lord, I was washed over with His sustaining grace.  I gave and was given…I searched and I found…I ached and I was comforted.  This is how I understand our passage for this morning.  I love the sentiments of James MacDonald in my study, When Life Gets Hard, p. 70.

When you are consumed by a trial, it’s easy to forget others and their needs.  But Peter says one of the best ways to yield to God’s will during a trial is to intentionally focus on the needs of others.

Only you will know what your spiritual gifts are and the manner in which you may serve.  It is very important to submit your ideas about this to God.  Always cover your area of gifting with prayer so that you may be used the way God desires.  When we focus on our problems instead of the people with whom God surrounds us we miss out on the comfort that can be ours, and hurting people miss out on being comforted. 

Jesus continued to serve during His toughest trial – hanging on the cross.  While suffering, He comforted the criminal next to Him.  While feeling all alone, He made sure His mother and disciple had each other.  While in pain, He prayed for God to forgive His enemies.  Most importantly, Jesus prayed up until His final breath. 

Christ certainly dispensed this passage beautifully…love…offer…serve.

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