Tuesday, March 9, 2010

At Your Service

Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.

-- Matthew 10:8

Call them guilty pleasures full of empty calories, but those cooking shows on cable TV can be quite entertaining. From Iron Chef to Rachel Ray to Top Chef, their culinary contestants literally cry over spilled milk and put all their eggs into one basket. But aside from the reality television clich├ęs, these shows also serve up some important life lessons with Biblical implications. Here’s a simple one that we should never forget:

Just a single ingredient can make all the difference.

For instance, substituting baking soda for baking powder turns a delicious cake into an inedible nightmare. And if you forget to add 1000 Island salad dressing to a Reuben sandwich, you end up with a mouthful of salty corned beef, bland stringy cheese and lip-puckeringly sour sauerkraut. Just ask any connoisseur: it’s the dressing that makes the Reuben a delicatessen masterpiece!

A related culinary principle applies to realizing our true purpose in life. To live life the way God intends it for us, Christ-followers first must gather the right spiritual ingredients. The Scriptures tell us it’s one part unity with other Christ-followers mixed with a measure of regular prayer and Bible study. Then blend in a heaping helping of discernment – the ongoing intentional functions of living, thinking and acting constructively. (It’s all about habitually looking for the good and dwelling on the positive.) Place this mixture into a hot oven of daily circumstances, trials and crises. The result is a rich life marked by a demonstrable willingness to serve others.

Christ-followers are called to be Jesus’ hands and feet on earth while we wait for His return -- or that day when He calls us back home (whichever comes first). Until then, God wants us to help prepare His Kingdom by making the most of the different gifts and talents He’s given each follower. And it’s by adopting a lifestyle of service that we’ll become more like our Teacher, Jesus. We’re always to follow the Leader:

“In the same way, the Son of Man did not come to be served,” Jesus explained. “He came to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many people."

When we serve, it’s not about us – it’s instead about Him and His creation. So as Christ-followers, let’s turn our faith into action by accepting Jesus’ invitation to help brighten a dark, dying world that’s so much in need of guidance, truth and love.

Are you ready to try out God’s never-fail recipe for finding your purpose in life through service to others? The proof – as they say – is in the pudding!

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