A Word from our prayer advocate
A Word on Servant Leadership
Psalm 1 Common English Bible
The truly happy person doesn’t follow wicked advice, doesn’t stand on the road of sinners, and doesn’t sit with the disrespectful. Instead of doing those things, these persons love the Lord’s Instruction, and they recite God’s Instruction day and night! They are like a tree replanted by streams of water, which bears fruit at just the right time and whose leaves don’t fade. Whatever they do succeeds. That’s not true for the wicked! They are like dust that the wind blows away. And that’s why the wicked will have no standing in the court of justice—neither will sinners in the assembly of the righteous. The Lord is intimately acquainted with the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked is destroyed.
Mark 9:30-37 Common English Bible
From there Jesus and his followers went through Galilee, but he didn’t want anyone to know it. This was because he was teaching his disciples, “The Human One will be delivered into human hands. They will kill him. Three days after he is killed he will rise up.” But they didn’t understand this kind of talk, and they were afraid to ask him. They entered Capernaum. When they had come into a house, he asked them, “What were you arguing about during the journey?” They didn’t respond, since on the way they had been debating with each other about who was the greatest. He sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them, “Whoever wants to be first must be least of all and the servant of all.” Jesus reached for a little child, placed him among the Twelve, and embraced him. Then he said, “Whoever welcomes one of these children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me isn’t actually welcoming me but rather the one who sent me.”
I know you have seen it, it comes around every now and then on the internet. I do admit there are probably a few devotionals I read regularly that most of you do not. And those devotionals might have this list on them, but I am sure most of you have seen it. That is the list of things to do to be miserable or unhappy. It has been a while since I have seen it and I am going to just hit the few points I cam remember, so it is not complete. But toward the top of the list is think only about what good you can get out of every situation. Only invest in the things that will give you rewards. Remember that people are in your life for your benefit only, if they do not add to you get rid of them. That is enough, I am sure all of us can think of someone like that right now. In fact, I am sure that most of us can think of a time that we looked at life that way. It may have been way back in our early childhood. But, I am sure that all of us have had a season or two when we chose to be miserable. But, I am thankful that all of you I know have not stayed there.
Our text today from the Psalm starts out with a similar list. It is a list of things that a truly happy person does not do. He does not follow wicked advice, sit on the road with sinners or the disrespectful. Then the list changes to the things he does do. The first thing that he does do is love the Lord’s instruction. I want to share a secret with you, it is hard to love something you do not know. We all need to spend some time learning the instructions of God, and as far as I know, the best way to do that is to spend time alone with him. That means time in prayer, time with scripture, and time being silent in his presence. This does not have to be the whole day, but it should be part of the day.
For those of you that always remember the songs we have heard about scripture the next verse will probably bring you to song. “Just like a tree that is planted by still waters, I shall not be moved.” I think that has made it into at least one song of all types of Christian Music. It is true, when we reach and remain connected to God’s instructions, we are able to remain stable. We are able to reach that level, but it is not by following the ways of the world. They will be as this Psalm says blown away like dust in the wind. Just let me ask you can you name the richest person you ever met? Are you sure he was the richest? Now the other part of the question, how many of you can name the person or people that brought you to a deeper relationship with God? If they are still alive do they still have contact with you? And yes I know, God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit are fully capable of bringing you into that deeper level of relationship with no other help.
In the text from Mark we have what I believe was the most common argument that the Twelve had among themselves. Which one of us is the most important? In response to that Jesus gave what very well may be the most common and important instruction from God. That is that we must view others as important as ourselves. Now, pay attention to how I said that. I did not say more important, I said as important. We need to be willing to be the least and the servant of all. You may think how does that fit with being as important as us? Let me explain, George Rodinia was a Russian Psychologist that later became a priest. After two times of being assumed killed by the KGB he came to Texas and became a United Methodist Pastor. I met him at a singles retreat that he was leading a workshop on forgiveness. In that lecture he said that “self esteem is bad, but self awareness is good.” I remember that with self esteem we are comparing ourselves to others, with self awareness we are aware of how much we are loved by God and that frees us to love others as they deserve. I do not know about you, but I think that George Rodinia had spent some time learning to the instructions of God. Have you done the same? If not why not develop that habit?
Let us pray…..Our Heavenly Father, we all want to follow you instructions. And we sometimes get so busy thinking we are following them, that we have not given you the time to give us those instructions. Forgive us for the times we have done that. Make us all aware of how much you love us, so that we can love others as we should. Amen