Bible Studies for Life Lesson for July 31- Personal Service
July 18 2011 by Catherine Painter, author, speaker from Raleigh

Focal Passages: Galatians 5:13-16, 22-26; 6:7-10

When division erupted among his church members, the pastor resigned and pursued secular employment. Later, a fellow minister asked, “What are you doing now that you have no congregation and pulpit?”

He answered, “Who says I have no congregation as long as there is grief and pain in the world?”

Pondering his response, I wonder if we sometimes limit our personal service by asking wrong questions, such as, “Do people who ask for my help deserve it?” and “Would they even appreciate my help?”

Jesus never questioned people. He saw and met their needs, expecting nothing in return. I wonder too, if while thinking of serving others, is it possible to think too big? Society urges us to dream and plan extravagantly, but God thinks small. David killed the giant Goliath with one small pebble targeted correctly (1 Sam. 17:50). Moses parted the Red Sea with his shepherd’s stick (Ex. 14:15-16). And Jesus fed 5,000 with five barley loaves and two small fish (John 6:1-15).

So when we cannot travel the world distributing Bibles to the lost, we can cross the street to share Christ with un-churched neighbors.

And when our tithes can’t build a hospital, a tip wrapped around a gospel tract can meet a restaurant waiter’s spiritual need.

In Galatians 5, Paul convinces us that no amount of legislation from the outside in can change sinful nature, but love issuing from the inside out makes all the difference.

Reading the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23, we can feel Paul taking our spiritual temperature, and realize that there are many ways to serve others when we become concerned enough to do it. In fact, until we can define our lives in terms of service to others, we cannot consider ourselves genuine followers of Christ.

I think of Anna, the teenager whose mother died, leaving Anna to rear four young siblings. Life was difficult on her father’s meager salary, and in time Anna developed tuberculosis. As she lay dying, an over-zealous religionist came and peppered her with questions.

“Do you know Jesus?” “Yes.”

“Do you go to church?” “No.”

“Then what will you tell Jesus when you meet Him in the judgment?”

“I won’t tell Him anything,” Anna whispered. “I will show Him my hands.”
7/18/2011 7:51:00 AM by Catherine Painter, author, speaker from Raleigh | with 0 comments

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