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At Your Service
by Joi James
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In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.' " {Acts 20:35}

Ever since I heard about the work being done at The Pantry, the local food bank our church is heavily involved with, I knew I wanted to be a part of it. I was so touched by the videos showcasing the wonderful things those people were doing for the community; the fun they had; the hearts they reached for Christ. But weeks went by......then months. I said I wanted to serve, but did I mean it? If I really wanted to help, I would, right?

If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. {Philippians 2:1-4}

I had so many "good" reasons why I couldn't participate. I would have to get up early....and I AM NOT a morning person. I'm shy and nervous meeting new people. I serve in church already - I can't do everything. My husband works on Saturdays so I would have to take my three year old with me, and well....NO WAY!

A few weeks back, my son so innocently reminded me while persistently requesting my assistance with the construction of a building block garage that "Jesus wants us to help people." I have been drilling that into his head since he was fresh out of the womb and he's finally getting it....even without my example.

So finally, after a year abounding with excuses, I just did it.

When we arrived at The Pantry that morning, I didn't know what to expect, but it didn't seem to matter. As we broke down into groups and began meeting the people in need, loading their cars with food and praying with them, I was overwhelmed. Inundated. Overcome.....with love. Jesus' love for each and everyone of those people - not just for those in need, but also for those with which I served. We were all there because we love Jesus, and we were following, not just His direction, but also His example.

When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. "Do you understand what I have done for you?" he asked them. "You call me 'Teacher' and 'Lord,' and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. {John 13:12-14}

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." {Mark 10:45}

I was almost sick at the thought of all I missed by delaying my service. It was so early and so hot, but it didn't matter. The joy I experienced with every smile and every hug I received that day erased anything remotely unpleasant. I was reminded of a friend who said something to the affect of, "Real service is the kind that requires self-sacrifice."

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. {Romans 12:1}

You can read about all the "unpleasantness" Jesus endured for us (Mark 15). So why would we ever complain about being inconvenienced to help another one of God's children? Why would we ever make excuses to get out of our Christian OBLIGATION to help one another? He wasn't too busy to serve you. He wasn't too tired to help me.

Now, I'm not saying a food bank is where you must be every week if you're a real Christ-follower! I AM saying, find an area in which you are gifted or interested in serving then DO IT - not one time, but REGULARLY! If you serve at your church, that's awesome! But we all have to do more. We HAVE to get out into our communities and give people REAL examples of Christ's love. You can always inquire at a local school, community center or hospital or simply grab a trash bag and clean up your neighborhood. There's so much need in our world - let God use you to fill a need for someone else! I promise He will meet you at your service with unparalleled JOY!

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." {Luke 6:38}

If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be! TRUST JESUS NOW

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