JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Q and A Segment explores the question, “How did Jesus define greatness?”
An argument developed among Jesus’ disciples on the question, “Who was the greatest?”
Whenever people start asking this kind of question, either privately or out in the open, you can anticipate arguing and dissension to follow.
Jesus used this argument as a teachable moment. He said to them in Mark 9:35, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last and the servant of all.”
Jesus defined greatness in terms of serving others. He encourages us to think in terms of giving, generosity, sacrifice, and love. Jesus is the greatest of all, and He set an example of service and sacrifice for us to follow. He said in Matthew 9:26, “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
According to Jesus, service is the pathway to greatness in the Year of Exploration.
JOHN SHIRK – This week’s Relationship-Building Principles examine how inviting God’s presence into our lives is healthy for our relationships.
Where God’s Presence is welcome, there is love.
First John 4, verses 7 and 8 are all about love, and how God’s love motivates us to reach out to others.
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
Then we learn what kind of love the Apostle John is talking about. “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.”
The love of Jesus was demonstrated through His service and sacrifice. There was no doubting that the expression of His love at the cross was authentic. God was demonstrating his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Having faith in Jesus gives us access to this power to love others selflessly and sincerely, with the heart of service and sacrifice.
Having the love of God is a vital relationship-building principle to take to heart in the Year of Connection.
JOHN SHIRK – In our Relationship-Building Principles, we are examining some of the ways Jesus’ followers can be effective witnesses for the Gospel.
One way is to take the service approach.
In Acts 9, Tabitha is a good example of someone who demonstrated her love for God through acts of service. She was always doing good and helping the poor.
All over the world, Christian organizations reach out to children in poverty. Churches send out people to serve on mission trips. Disaster relief organizations help people in crisis situations to rebuild their lives. These forms of service are giving Christians opportunities to share the love of Jesus, as we represent Him in various forms of service.
Jesus said, “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Taking the service approach of sharing the Gospel is a vital relationship-building principle to take to heart in the Year of Connection.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on the joy of working together for a sacred purpose.
The church is compared to a body, which consists of many connected members who have different functions. Yet as their different functions work compatibly with each other, the body works according to its design.
Each part is significant enough to be a vital part of the team. No part is so important that it does not need the contribution of the other parts. God calls us to appreciate the contributions of others and to do our part in building the strength of the church for God’s glory.
Romans 12:6 says, “We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.”
The joy of working together for a sacred purpose is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Philippians 2:6 tells us that “being in very nature God, he did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-even death on a cross!”
Jesus deserved the crown of glory. Instead, He wore the crown of thorns.
Jesus was worthy of being lifted up to a throne of honor. Instead, He suffered the cross of shame.
Jesus was worthy of being served as a distinguished leader. Instead, He came to serve and give His life as a ransom for many.
There is an important reason to examine the attitude of Christ. Philippians 2:5 says, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.”
The attitude of Jesus is a lesson of faith worth remembering.
JOHN SHIRK – It happened the night before Jesus was crucified. He grabbed a basin and a towel. He knelt down to serve the disciples by washing their feet.
In this simple act, Jesus taught us that service is an act of humility. Jesus literally lowered Himself to serve the disciples as He washed their feet. If Jesus was willing to do that, then none of His servants are so great that they are above performing acts of service that can help others in practical ways.
Jesus said to His disciples in John 13:14, “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.”
The washing of the disciples’ feet is an example of service taught by Jesus and is a lesson of faith worth remembering.
JOHN SHIRK – From Philippians 1:6.
“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
This is the result of a persistent commitment carried out from a faithful heart to Jesus. Think about the potential impact of one act of service on future generations.
Whether it’s sending an email of encouragement to a friend or helping strangers by volunteering at a homeless shelter; God can use each form of service to touch a life and multiply the impact until the return of Jesus.
We heard an example of this on a recent Lighthouse Report. Shaun serves as a pastor at a church in Denver Colorado. 4,000 people go to that church every week. But there was a time when Shaun was thinking of ending his life. In his distress, he called a man named Eric Parks, who invited him to go to church instead of ending his life. As a result of that invitation, Shaun committed his life to Christ instead of committing suicide. His life was saved, and he is being used of God to reach others with the Gospel. That is the ongoing work of God through His faithful witnesses.
Being a faithful instrument of God’s grace is a vital sign of a changed life in the Year of Transformation.