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Topic: Service (12/21/03)
TITLE: Obedience - Jesus Call to Service
By Anna Johnson
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A dutiful servant obeys his conscience, because he hears the stern voice of a taskmaster usurping authority. Such assumed responsibility emanates from a stony attempt to pacify rather than from an understanding heart to comply. Obedience is indeed the key, but like the toddler who learns to walk only after falling down and trying again, we must encounter day-to-day failings to discover the gentle, encouraging support of a loving father Who leads us in, through, and out of our wilderness experiences. In the desert, He feeds us hidden manna, as His Word comes alive and tempers our unyielding spirits. Deep in our unconscious, He reveals our unrighteous motivations and desires. When serving out of duty, we give nothing of ourselves, because, sadly, we've nothing to give but longings to receive. We then disguise such service as love from an insecure need to prove our worth.
The obedient servant is willing-minded, strong in faith and emptied of selfishness. Faith's servant is well pleasing to his Master, because he discovers through painful trials and tribulations and often out of heart-rending loneliness, the secret of stepping outside himself into the supernatural realm of Jesus' servant heart. An eager, loving attitude then finds a changed heart motivated to please Him as He fills us with His love. The greater His filling, the more we serve, and vice versa.
Obedience, the strength of service, flows from an understanding that dusty feet are symbolic of our unclean, inner beings, and only when God cleanses our hearts can we attempt to loving remove the dusty misunderstandings of another. This, then, is obedience from the heart (see Romans 6:17, KJV), and His true call to service. Only by possessing nothing, and acknowledging the vulnerability of our emptiness, can we learn to receive Him and give the resultant end of our desert experience where we possess the "good land" (see Deu. 8:7-10, KJV).
Serving Jesus is choosing life over death, a decision of the will. Because we choose life and yearn for His glory, we are free to love the Lord and others when, from a purified heart, we serve with right motives. In eternity, we will discover Love's perfect radiance, as face-to-face, we will see Him as He is, and without pretense, obediently declare, "We are wholly at your service, Most Holy God!"