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Topic: Service (12/21/03)
TITLE: These three things
By Mary C Legg
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God spoke and the world came into being; God breathed and man came into existence. each thing has its purpose and its end. The world was shaped and the waters were drawn aways from the earth to give space to land. God saw that it was good. The land yielded trees and bushes with fruits and vines with grasses that covered the fields with grain, and God saw that it was good. God created the beasts of the field, the fish of the sea and the birds of the heavens, and God saw that it was good. And within this creation, he put man, created in his own image. God gave creation and provides through creation to man for all his needs.
A righteous man does things according to their merit and to the justice and ethics of the situation. Accordingly, he returns a discarded wallet to the police and files a report or pays the increase in the gas tax with a little bit of grumbling. He does things with a sense of justice, of right and wrong. He serves God, he is observant in his personal life so that he does not steal or covet his neighbor's wife, but he might not get the neighbor's stray kitten out of the tree and he might never stop on the highway after dark to attend to someone else's flat tire. He is righteous and moral, but his ethics do not spill over in life. He is like needful water that is bottled and the opener is not available.
A good man, a man that is good in all ways, serves not only God but his fellow man. He is like a running brook that bubbles and spills along its route bringing life with him. So Jesus lived. Although he was observant and preached in the synagogues, he went beyond religious observance and gave abundantly to his fellow man. His life was service, not that which had ulterior motives or done with a sense of personal justice; but with loving kindness and abundance of generosity. His mouth and hand were well-coordinated. What he said, he did. He took a few fish and blessed them and with his hands he broke them and they fed hundreds. It wasn't necessary. It wasn't needful; nor should it be expected that the speaker of the day provide for the uninvited hordes sitting upon a hillside; but he did it anyway. If they had gone without, they would have survived. The day was not so long, not so hot that anyone would have died without a small bite. He could have sent them home for dinner and continued his speech at a later date, like the suspension of Congressional activities. He didn't do it. Instead he gave from his heart and his hands multiplied the blessing on the fish and bread.
He didn't ask anyone to disclose their religious or political affiliation, and he never asked for anyone to write an oath in order to receive his blessing. He expected nothing in return. This is what is meant in service to mankind that shall save the world and it is the foundation of the world. The teacher who stays after school does it from her heart, the bystander who calls the ambulance does it without thinking of reward and the person who returns the wallet or the purse anonymously to the owner does it without selfish intention—this is service to man which is also service to God; for every person is made in God's image and to serve God; one must serve man.
And it isn't whether or not you have a million dollars or that Bill Gates has so much; but that each person has something to give from his heart: he that hath two coats, let him impart to him who hath none; and he who hath meat, let him do likewise. Lk 3:11. For God sees and knows that the widow's mite is more than a miser's tithes and loving-kindness is the pillar on which the world survives.