ServiceBro. David Chancellor
12/7/2008 11:00 AM
1 Kings 17:1-16
And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the Lord God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word. And the word of the Lord came unto him, saying, Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there. So he went and did according unto the word of the Lord: for he went and dwelt by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook. And it came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land.
And the word of the Lord came unto him, saying, Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongs to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee. So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, a widow woman was there gathering of sticks: and he called to her, and said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink. And as she was going to fetch it, he called to her, and said, Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand. And she said, As the Lord thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse; and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die. And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son. For thus saith the Lord God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the Lord sendeth rain upon the earth. And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days. And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord, which he spake by Elijah.
What do you say to people when it just seems like they can’t get ahead? A lot of people are already living in great poverty all over the world. God can meet their needs. The poor aren’t abandoned by God. God can provide for us what we need. We may get ideas about how God will provide for the need.
Ahab had married Jezebel and the land of Israel was going the wicked route. God provided for Elijah first by the ravens and then in Jezebel’s land, in spite of what she was.
God sent him to a widow woman who barely had enough to live on. If we will serve first, then there will be enough to live on. A lot of people are scraping along because they’re focused on self. The business that prospers is one that sees a need and meets it well. The prospering follows the serving. Turn it around and keep on serving. God calls us to serve. God puts us here to be contributors. Get up and do something. The life of service is a lot better than a life of seeking to be served. Look for ways to contribute to the wellbeing of others.
These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils; freely ye have received, freely give. Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves; for the workman is worthy of his meat.
They were to carry the gospel to the Israelites at that time. He told them to leave a lot of things at home, but to give freely what they’d been given. God has given us abilities. If you serve, God will provide. God has something for us to do. Go work and something will come of it. Be willing to fairly recompense those that work for you.
But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant. Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
Jesus was trying to help them realize that he was calling them to serve. It isn’t about titles and paychecks; it’s about meeting the needs of others. A church that is focused on positions and not on the gospel message, will die. Greatness is achieved through service.
2 Corinthians 8:1-7
Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God. Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also. Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also.
"How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality." They were being persecuted, but they found joy in it. These things seem to be contradictory. You don’t have to be poor because you don’t have a lot of stuff. You can still give. They still had something to give. You’re poor when you have nothing to give. Even if we don’t have money, we can still serve and give to our fellowman. The significance of the gift is found by how much of yourself you put into it. Learn to serve. Give of yourself to your fellowman.
"Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also." He wanted Titus to keep working with them to help them be servants. He wanted them to give of themselves for others. People see our love and concern for them in the service we do for them.