1st February 2013

Service Users

“I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as a example for those who would believe on him and have eternal life”
1 Timothy 1:16 (NIV UK)

A friend of mine told me of an official visit he made to a home for people with a particular set of problems. The staff members at the home do not describe the residents in terms of their condition: instead they are referred to as “service users”.  This is done out of concern for everyone involved, and is understandable.

Sometimes, however, we avoid using certain words or phrases out of personal embarrassment. When the Bible describes us in our unredeemed state, it refers to us as “sinners”. Today this is not a term people like. You could say that it is not regarded as “politically correct”. “Sinners” implies that we are to blame in some way for whatever spiritual mistakes we have made. It can sound judgemental and condemning.

Paul confessed that he was a chief among sinners. He admitted his past and present sins. He knew that his only hope was to accept the gracious service of Jesus on the cross. In today’s terminology Jesus could be called a “service provider”, and what he is providing is grace.

Jesus came to make God’s eternal love visible. He came among us “as one who serves” (Luke 22:27). He was and is the demonstration of God’s love towards and mercy for all humanity. His sacrificial death was his crowning act of service for men and women everywhere, including you and me.

I wonder whether we are sometimes too proud to admit we need his service. Maybe we should take a leaf from Paul’s book, and own up to what we are. We are sinners. More importantly we are sinners who benefit from God’s “unlimited patience”.

Take advantage of the service Christ offers. Be one of his “service users”.

Use the grace.

Thank you, Father, for providing the service of grace through Christ Jesus, and help me to be one of your service users.

Study by James Henderson 

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