< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: Devotion for after a service/mission weekend

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Devotion for after a service/mission weekend

This is a devotion I shared with our youth after a weekend of mission projects we did from out church:

God’s 2 greatest commandments are: To love God with all of our heart, soul and mind and to love others as ourselves.

We can’t really do one fully without the other.

A story in the Bible, which demonstrates what happens when you try, is in the book of Matthew. It’s the story of the Transfiguration of Christ. Jesus had taken Peter, James and John up to the top of the mountain to worship God. There they heard God speak audibly and saw Jesus glorified. The ultimate mountaintop experience!

Peter suggested staying up on the mountain to just continue to worship and forget about all the problems of the world.

Meanwhile the other disciples were down in the Valley trying to heal people on their own. They couldn’t, because the Bible says, “they were without power”.

They were without power because they hadn’t been to the mountaintop and worshipped first!

Jesus in the story combines the two. He goes to the mountaintop to worship first and then down into the Valley to heal. He shows through this how the 2 greatest commandments of God are supposed to work in our lives.

It’s so easy to be a Christian when you’re having a mountain top experience isn’t it? Because usually everyone around you is having one too – you’re surrounded by Christians of like minds.

But, we are called to go down in the Valley too. I read once that servant hood is God’s crowning pattern for finding fulfillment. In Matthew 23:11 Jesus says the greatest among you will be your servant.

Service is a helpful deed for a fellow human being, a gift we give to God and a satisfying favor we do for ourselves. God gave each of us benefits and gifts to help people and to grow His kingdom.

When we serve in Jesus’ name and for God’s glory – we are combining the 2 greatest commandments.

This weekend has been a mountain top experience in that we were able to both worship God and serve others in His name. But, now we have to come down off the mountain and go back into the world.

The challenge is to continue to look to for opportunities to meet human need and do whatever needs to be done for Jesus’ sake. It can be as simple as giving someone a hug or a smile, visiting a shut-in or writing a note of encouragement - to sharing the gospel.

We all gave up something to participate in this weekend. We need to ask ourselves what we need to give up from our lives to continue to live out God’s 2 greatest commandments. As we go back to the valley lets ask ourselves what in our lives gets in the way of us putting God first and serving others every day.

The valley is full of “me first” mentality and shallow living. The pull to be that way is as strong as the pull to come to the mountain.

Our Father in heaven wants to replace all the cheap, fake and shallow things we cling to with the “real deal”. He has an abundant life planned for each of His children, but we have to take the first step and give up whatever it is that keeps us from putting Him in His rightful place in our lives: first and center.

Prayer: Lord, we thank you for this weekend: the opportunity to serve others in Your name, the time set apart to focus on You. We ask you to help us prioritize our lives now. Show us what we each need to get rid of so that we can put You first and love others as You mean for us to. As always, we come to You through Your Son Jesus Christ, and it’s in His Holy name we pray. Amen.

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