Are you familiar with the phrase “to go above and beyond”? I love being around people that go above and beyond. I hope you have encountered these people in your life too. I also hope you appreciate them and let them know what a blessing they are. I can confidently say that Oak Hill has many of these people. I rub shoulders with them and see them doing their “thing” week after week, year after year. I am so very thankful!
One of the most common components of these people’s outlook on life is that they notice things and then they act simply because they can. For instance, Barb described her Grandpa as being very good at anticipating the needs of others. She has told me how he would sit at the dinner table and pass things to people before they asked. For example, before a word was spoken but at just the right time he noticed they could use a bit more gravy on their potatoes or jam for their bread. That can seem like a small thing, but when it is a person’s everyday perspective it is amazingly powerful. For us, it is a must if we want to follow Jesus. In the Bible, it shows up whenever and wherever Jesus shows up.
We see it in Jesus’ words regarding “putting the other first” and we encounter it in its most extreme case as Jesus hung on the cross for us. Jesus anticipated our every need and He came from heaven to earth to meet them. Am I willing to be inconvenienced to help others and give them what they need? We all like to give a knee jerk response to this question – “Of course I would, after all, I follow Jesus.” But if I am honest I must admit that I am missing out to a certain degree on the singularity in focus that Jesus always had for “the other.”
I am exceedingly aware Jesus is my savior because of all my shortcomings including my tendency toward self-focused living, but that doesn’t mean I should settle for missing out on all the good things God has in store for me as I live my life for others. Even though the previous sentence may sound selfish, it actually shows one of God’s many great truths. We find our full life when we give our life to others! I love how the power of God always blesses both the receiver and the giver.
One of the most common words used to describe this kind of living is service. Time and time again in Scripture we are called to serve. We are even told that the spiritual gifts we possess are for the “common good” and not just a personal blessing. God expects us to interact with each other in a spirit of service. What if we went so far as to deliberately prefer the preferences of the other over our own? That is truly a radical concept but that is exactly what God calls us to in Philippians 2:
1Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
This Sunday’s message comes from Acts 6:1-7 where the early Church sees the need for service in various forms if the followers of Jesus are going to do what God has called them to do. See you Sunday!
Serving with you,
Pastor Nick Mundis