Are we willing to be a servant?

February 26, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

You know that those who are supposed to rule over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of man also came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
(Mark 10:42-45 (NLT))

I can see very clearly that this concept has become unknown in our current society. Many of our leaders feel that they are in absolute authority over us, yet they proclaim to be Christians. Based on this passage from Mark, we see that this is clearly not the case. It states that those who wish to be a leader must be a servant. They are not to be elevated above others, but must have a servant’s heart. They must be willing to sacrifice for those whom they are called to lead.

This applies not only in government, but also in our work, and in our local church assemblies. We must not allow ourselves to exercise authority over each other is such a way that we subjugate those around us. The Body of Christ has only one head. The last time that I checked, no one has professed to be Jesus and has come visible in the clouds with an army.

It is our sinful human nature that wants to elevate ourselves to positions of authority. I am sure that everyone has, at one time, had a fantasy of having our every wish and whim fulfilled. For most people, this is just a fleeting idea. However, there are those who cling to this concept even though they may not realize it.

Do you find yourself thinking that you are better than others?

Do you ever find yourself thinking that as long as you get yours, you couldn’t care what happens to others?

Human nature can be harmful. Ego can be harmful. To truly be a leader, you must be willing to serve. You must be willing to put the well being of others before your very own. It is this characteristic that Jesus displayed when He willingly went to the cross.

Would we do the same, or would we say to take someone else in our place? Are we willing to make the sacrifices that truly say that we are a follower of Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What do you hide in your heart?

February 7, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.
(Psalms 119:11 (NIV))

What do you hide in your heart?

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Matthew 6:21 (NIV))

It is true that people will place what they treasure within their hearts. It is what you think of first, last and most often. What is in your heart is your treasure, and typically people will hide what they do not wish for others to find. We hide our treasures!

What is it that you hide within your heart? What is it that you think of first, last and most often? If you are like every other person on this planet, then you are probably ashamed of your answer. Is it wealth? Is it power? Is it lust? Is it your family? Is it your job? Just what is it that you treasure?

What is it that God wants you to treasure and to hide in your heart?

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
(Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (NIV))

We are to treasure God’s Word. We are to think of it first, last and most often.

What have you hidden in your heart?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Fair and equal compensation

April 30, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire men to work in his vineyard. He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard.

“About the third hour he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. He told them, `You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went.
“He went out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour and did the same thing. About the eleventh hour he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, `Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’

” `Because no one has hired us,’ they answered.
“He said to them, `You also go and work in my vineyard.’

“When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, `Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’

“The workers who were hired about the eleventh hour came and each received a denarius. So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. `These men who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, `and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’

“But he answered one of them, `Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’

“So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”
(Matthew 20:1-16 (NIV))

What do you think of when reading the above scripture? Do you think of honesty and “fairness,” or do you think of generosity and grace? From the workers who were first hired, it does not seem that they were treated fairly by the landowner. They worked much longer than those who came later, but were paid the same for what they had done.

Think of it from a kingdom standpoint. These workers who were hired early in the day are those people who have believed from an early age. The workers who were hired mid-day are those people who have believed from a later point in their lives. The workers who were hired at the eleventh hour are those people who came to be believers late in life. Now take a look at the wages that they were paid. A denarius represents eternal life with God. How can that be divided for the different groups of people? No matter when the decision was made, the results are the same!

Isn’t it good to know that God freely gives His grace to all who ask for it with no stipulations or punishments for when they asked!

There are other interpretations of the above passage. But, based on God’s grace and mercy, reflection must be made regarding our attitude towards others when they accept Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. Do we rejoice or are we angry because they will receive the same blessings and rewards as those of “us” who have accepted Jesus much earlier in life?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Where is your reward?

July 21, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.”
(Mark 9:35 (NIV))

In today’s society, everybody wants to be served and no one wants to serve. No one wants to wait for anything.

Be honest. How many of you would take a job at a fast food restaurant if something else was available? Even the fast food restaurants are playing up the fact that people want to be served and served in their own way. We get upset if we have to wait for anything. What does that say about us, as a society? We have become self-centered and lazy. We are willing to be a part of something only if we get something out of it. The saying “What’s in it for me” is all too common.

Does this sound like the words of Jesus are having an impact on the lives of the people today? What is your attitude about being a servant and not being first?

I once knew a man whose 12 year old son did not like living where they lived. His complaint was that nothing came out first there and that he deserved to be first. This sounds typical of our society. Through various different aspects of our society, we have quickly become self focused. I hate to say that even some believers have fallen prey to this attitude.

Closely examine your life. Are you doing anything to be a servant to others? Are you willing to allow others to be placed before you without getting upset? If we follow the words of Jesus, our reward is in heaven. Remember that we are told that the Pharisees got their reward in this world for placing themselves above others.

Where is your reward?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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