September 21st 2009

When We Give Our Hearts

“So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.”

Matthew 18:4 (NLT) 

It’s hard to glamorize the disciples of Jesus when you pay attention to the Scriptures.  Today’s passage is a response to their ongoing argument about who was the greatest among them.  When Jesus asked them about it, they kept quiet out of embarrassment.  His response offers the antidote for pride and ambition and is a model for true leadership.

Years ago when Mother Teresa visited Phoenix, Arizona to speak at the opening of a home for the destitute, the largest radio station in town interviewed her.  During a commercial break the announcer asked Mother Teresa whether there was anything he could do for her.  He expected her to request a donation or ask for media help to raise money for the new facility. Instead, she looked him in the eye and said, “Yes, there is.  Find someone nobody else loves and love them.”

I’ve never heard the rest of the story.  I don’t know if the challenge of that diminutive nun from Calcutta caused that disc jockey to seek out someone to love unconditionally or not.  But it is a challenge that’s hard to ignore! 

Giving a gift of money is never as costly as giving of our lives.  The gift of money is immediate.  But giving our lives is ongoing.  The gift of money represents that past portion of our lives that we have already invested in our work.  The gift of service represents a desire to invest more of our future in that which has eternal significance.  Once money leaves our hands, so often the memory of it leaves us as well – but when we give our hearts the memories are with us forever.

While money is a necessity (and always appreciated!), and is an ingredient for any kingdom endeavour, the most acute need is always for leaders and servants. Where are those who will invest themselves in the lives of others, nurturing, encouraging, and developing people into mature disciples?  Most of us, if offered a choice between giving some extra money to our church and cleaning the toilets, would dig deep into our pockets!

But it is precisely that sacrificial quality of service that makes it so valuable.  Whether it is teaching children or being part of the soup kitchen, serving is the key to keeping our priority and focus.  Henrietta Mears, twentieth-century Christian educator once said, “The man who keeps busy helping the man below him won’t have time to envy the man above him.”

What are some of the unique experiences God has used to bring growth in your life? 

How can serving others redeem even difficult experiences?

Prayer

God, please bring to mind people who would benefit from spending time with me.  How could I offer them encouragement, hope, and opportunities to grow? Grant me the courage to contact them – today.

Amen 

Study by Fraser Murdoch 

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