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Saturday, August 2, 2014

Sally Deserves Better!

Sally’s news shocked me. Cancer cells have invaded her body. She’ll receive six rounds of chemo treatments causing severe nausea, baldness, and for Sally’s family, financial strain. I heard myself thinking, Sally deserves better.

I admire Sally. She and her husband love God and serve Him in the hard places. They have lived in Kabul, Afghanistan, and Amsterdam, Holland for more than 20 years. Currently, in South Africa, they tell people about Jesus, make disciples, and train leaders. I've always thought Sally deserves nothing but God’s best.

That same thought was expressed, shortly after, by someone pleading others to pray for her co-worker. “He’s an amazing guy and brilliant and was in a bad car accident. He’s having brain surgery. He doesn't deserve this.”

Pondering others’ tough times drew me back to some personal experiences. Riding tumultuous waves during storms with kids, ministry and marriage, I thought, I deserve better. When doing my best and expected results fail or never come to pass, the entitlement mindset comes marching in. It’s a reoccurring heart attitude that tries many of us: I, or others, don’t deserve cancer, accidents, unemployment, and relationship problems.

The entitlement mindset can shake the faith of even strong believers. The Psalmist’s words relate, “…my feet nearly stumbled, as I almost lost my step” (Psalm 73:2 NIV).

When were you last tempted to believe, “I deserve a spouse; I deserve a raise; I deserve a better job, home, car, etc?” Advertisements reinforce this message: You deserve the chocolates, the clothing, the day- spa, the vacation package!

Fortunately, Truth rescues us from sinking into discouragement. Truth unveils well disguised pride. Apathy toward serving can’t survive with our mind fastened upon the Truth.

Truth acknowledges God’s goodness and reveres His perfect sovereign will. “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them” (Romans 8:28 NLT). Truth reminds us who’s in charge and why we were created-- “…we are God’s workmanshipto do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do,” (Ephesians 2:10).

The devil tempted Jesus to forsake His mission and serve self for personal benefits. But Jesus, all-wise, recognized His adversary’s destructive scheme. He commanded, “‘Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only’” (Matthew 4:10).

So, how do we cultivate a sincere heart of service for the Lord, in our home and at our workplace? How can we keep revering Him when storms roll in? How do we do everything with all our heart, as working for the Lord, not for men? (Colossians 3:22-23)

It’s possible to serve God wholeheartedly and joyfully by abiding in these truths…

1.       Joy-filled serving is impossible without patience and endurance. They are a prayer away! (Colossians 1:11) “Ask and it will be given to you” (Matthew 7:7).

2.       Daily, feast on the cross—Jesus, perfect in beauty. We are blood bought! (John 3:16) We’ve been rescued from eternal darkness and death and transferred into God’s kingdom of eternal light and life. “May we never lose the wonder. Wide eyed and mystified… like a child staring at the beauty of our King.” Amanda Cook

3.      Wake up to God’s love. Let it fascinate you! Gaze at the sunrise, tune into the melody of birds. The One who writes their songs sings a scandalous message of grace over us. “I love you just the way you are, not the way you should be, because you’ll never be the way you should be!” (Romans 5:20; 8:2)  

4.      Anticipate reward day! Our just King and gracious Master esteems our sincere motives, and our reverent purposes and prayers in service to Him (John 12:26). When He returns, rewards are given, and He will commend us with praise, “Well done!” (1 Corinthians 4:5 MSG) (Matthew 10:40-42)

5.       Serving God wholeheartedly doesn't entitle us to a trouble free life. “Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?” (Romans 11:35-36) Neither are God’s blessings determined by us earning them. He is even kind to the unmerciful! (Luke 6:35). Serving God wholeheartedly, no matter what the circumstances or the results, allows others to see the life of Jesus living through us (2 Corinthians 4:8-10). It also proves our faith genuine which will bring praise, honor, and glory to God. (1 Peter 1:7).
 In whatever capacity you serve today, check your mindset. Is it fastened upon your gracious Master, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords? He always deserves praise, honor and glory because He is holy, all wise, and loving.

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