If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. – Luke 9:23
2 Corinthians 8:1-5
1 Now I want you to know, dear brothers and sisters, what God in his kindness has done through the churches in Macedonia.
2 They are being tested by many troubles, and they are very poor. But they are also filled with abundant joy, which has overflowed in rich generosity.
3 For I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford, but far more. And they did it of their own free will.
4 They begged us again and again for the privilege of sharing in the gift for the believers in Jerusalem.
5 They even did more than we had hoped, for their first action was to give themselves to the Lord and to us, just as God wanted them to do.
Many of these estimates are outdated originating in 2018, almost 2 decades ago in Internet time. It is estimated that there are between 5 and 10 billion pages on the Internet. There are more than 2 billion websites on the Internet. 4 billion out of the 7 billion people on earth are already online. Facebook has over 2.40 billion users, approximately 30% of the world’s population.
Internet users consume a lot of bandwidth. In 2016 one zettabyte bandwidth was used. One Zettabyte is equal to a thousand Exabytes, a billion Terabytes, or trillion Gigabytes. 85,000+ websites are hacked every day.
Each of us follows something or someone. We scour the Internet and social media for “facts” and opinions. We listen to friends, leaders, or even so-called “experts.” Some of us follow family customs or what are considered accepted societal norms. But all of us follow something.
What we follow, we serve!
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You’re gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil, or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody (Bob Dylan)
To be a servant of the Father takes more than just being one of the children of the King. Right choices need to be made and maintained. What is the standard?
We are to serve and help up to and beyond your ability. How can this possibly be done? Paul makes it simple. He provides an example, the brothers and sisters in Macedonia. They were “all in” regarding their determination to serve and help. In fact, nothing could keep these people from helping. They begged to help in spite of personal sacrifice, suffering, and their current poverty. They were determined to help.
The key to their service is found in their very first key decision. They gave themselves to the Lord and to us (2 Corinthians 8:5). Once you give yourself to the Father, giving things, time, and resources easily follow.
REFLECT & PRAY
Enhancing your service successfully is not easy, it is hard, sometimes seemingly impossible. But anyone can do it!
Father encourage me to daily surrender control of my heart to the Lord Jesus Christ.
To be a successful servant of the Father, we must hear Him and do what He says. It is one thing to hear, it is another thing to do.
“Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear!” (James 1: 22 – MSG)
We start where we are and acknowledge that the Father is in charge. When we accept Him as our sovereign Lord, it is not a concession. Rather, it is a confession of what is indeed fact. We choose to believe what is already true. We spend the rest of our lives endeavoring to actualize what we believe.
The Father’s intention is for Christ to have His special place in each of His children’s lives and hearts. Sadly, many of us have seized Christ’s special place away from Him. We have put ourselves in the driver’s seat instead. Our responsibility, as servants is to surrender and allow Him to assume His rightful place in our hearts that we usurped from Him.
1 Peter 3:15 Reverence Christ as Lord of your heart.
The Greek term translated reverence or sanctify is hagiazo, from hagios, which means holy, set apart. Reverence envisions an act of dedication, consecration, or commitment. It has the sense of “serving the Father with a whole heart,” “dedicating yourself,” or “giving yourself to God.”
Such reverence or commitment in your hearts involves a continual deep-seated confidence that the Father is sovereign and that the Lord Jesus Christ reigns as Lord of lords and King of Kings
Children of the King who have enhanced their service, are people for whom the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ are of prime importance in life. For them, their relationship with the Father through the Lord Jesus Christ is their most precious possession
If people’s hearts are set on earthly things, material possessions, happiness, pleasure, an easy life and comfort, they are of all people most vulnerable. Life on our fallen planet is unpredictable. They may lose these things at any moment. Such people are desperately easily hurt.
On the other hand, when we give to the Lord Jesus Christ His unique place in our lives, things change significantly. The most precious thing for us becomes our relationship to the Father. Nothing can take that from us. Therefore, we are completely secure.
Suffering is part of the human condition. No one escapes suffering; but, for children of the King who are serving the Father with their whole heart, suffering cannot touch the things which matter most of all. Suffering cannot rob us of the most precious things in life (Barclay).
The fear of suffering is mitigated by enhancing our service. “Only he who can say, ‘The Lord is the strength of my life’ can go on to say, ‘Of whom shall I be afraid?’” (Maclaren)
The Father is looking for servants who are willing to really serve Him, not just going through the motions. A special delight awaits His servants. One day He will say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!” (Matthew 25:23)
Trust the Lord Jesus Christ with your whole heart and allow Him to take control.