Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.
-- Matthew 10:8
With the holidays fast approaching and Christmas catalogs already arriving in the mail, it's hard not to begin thinking about gift-giving, travel plans...and food!
Yes, there's something extra-special about those savory holiday meals. What beasts the taste--and not to mention the aroma--of juicy roast turkey, stuffing, rolls and green bean casserole? And for dessert, how about a big slice of pumpkin pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side? It's literally food for thought. And it's also a reminder about an essential life lesson with Biblical implications: One simple ingredient can make all the difference.
For example, substituting baking soda for baking powder turns what would be a delicious cake into an inedible nightmare. And if you forget to add the 1000 Island dressing to a Reuben sandwich, you end up with a mouthful of salty corned beef, bland stringy cheese and lip-puckeringly sour sauerkraut. (It's the dressing that makes the Reuben a delicatessen masterpiece!)
Likewise, it takes just the right spiritual ingredients for Christ-followers to live life the way God intends it. And what's the recipe? 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, and the result is a rich life seasoned 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. "In the same way, the Son of Man did not come to be served," Jesus explains. "He came to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many people."
When we follow Jesus' example of service, it's not about us. Instead, it's really 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!