vs. Being a Servant
Perhaps you're thinking, "what's the difference?" In his book, Celebration of Discipline, Richard
Foster's points out there is a great deal of difference between the two.
"When we choose to serve, we are still in charge. We decide whom we will serve and when
we will serve. And if we are in charge, we will worry a great deal about anyone stepping on us, that is taking charge over
when we choose to be a servant, we give up the right to be in charge. there is great freedom in this. If we voluntarily
choose to be taken advantage of, then we cannot be manipulated. When we choose to be a servant, we surrender the right
to decide who and when we will serve. We become available and vulnerable."
So the question is, which one does Jesus call us to?
“You can’t be detached and effective” (Abba Eban).
EFFECTIVENESS ALMOST ALWAYS REQUIRES INVOLVEMENT.
In sports, for example, the spectators’ enthusiasm may be a factor, but basically, the outcome is determined by those
who are involved in playing the game on the field, not by those who are just watching.
The concept of “involvement” is
an interesting metaphor. The Latin verb involvere was a compound made up of in (“in”) + volvere
(“to roll or turn”). Literally, then, if two things are “involved,” they are “rolled together”
or “intertwined.” With this picture in mind, when we say that a person has gotten involved in some activity, we
mean that he or she is “wrapped up” in it. Previously, they may have viewed the activity passively or from a distance,
but now they and the activity are intertwined, like the strands of a rope. No longer are they passengers, spectators, or commentators
— now they are INVOLVED.
Don’t we need to be more involved with life and its worthwhile activities? I believe we
do. In my own life, I constantly battle the temptation to back away from things, to remain passive. And to the extent that
I give in to that temptation, I am the loser. What about you? In all honesty, what do you see in your life: a pattern of courageous
involvement and engagement, or a tendency to take the easy way out and remain passive? Are you “intertwined” with
life or not?
I like to look at the difference between involvement and non-involvement as the difference between going forward
and going backward. Am I going to get involved and engage this difficult, unpleasant thing that is on my “to do”
list, or am I not? If I go ahead and get involved with the thing, I move forward, but if I back away from it and remain passive,
I lose ground. It takes effort to overcome inertia and engage life, but there is no other way to avoid going backward. And
if we’re going backward, we’re not really living; we’re dying.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote, “Act — act in the
living present, / Heart within, and God o’erhead.” I challenge you to do what Longfellow said: ACT. Be wise and
careful, of course, but get involved and ACT. Life’s a great drama, so participate and play your part!
“To finish the moment, to find the journey’s end
in every step of the road, to live the greatest number of good hours, in wisdom” (Ralph Waldo Emerson).
Henry – WordPoints.com
Who IS My Neighbor?
stood up and put Him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
And He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?” And
he answered, “You shall love
the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your
neighbor as yourself.” And He said to him, “You
have answered correctly; do
this and you will live.”
But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who
is my neighbor?”
Jesus replied and said, “A man was going down from
Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead. And by chance a priest was going down on that road,
and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed
by on the other side.
But a Samaritan, who was on a journey,
came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he
put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. On the next day he took out two denarii
and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay
Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into
the robbers’ hands?” And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward
him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.” --Luke
answer to the question, “What shall I do to have eternal life” illustrates a way of life that must become our
way of life. It’s a lifestyle of mercy, compassion and love that reaches beyond family, race, social backgrounds,
religion, and any other possible barrier or prejudice. It’s a radical kind of love that reaches beyond boundaries and
encompasses even our enemies.
In biblical times, the road to Jericho was a violent road (often referred to by contemporary writers as “the
bloody way”). While the man who was beaten and robbed laid half dead on the road, both a priest and a Levite passed
by. Yet a Samaritan (regarded with distaste and highly loathed by the Jews), was moved by compassion for this man and took
action. The Samaritan gave of his time, his money, his effort, even risked his own life on this bloody and dangerous road
to help this man in need. A man he did not know.
Is it not odd that the priest, steeped in knowledge of scripture and a teacher of the law, would cross to the other
side of the road rather than reach out to the suffering?
Was the priest not familiar with Leviticus 19:18?
“…you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
No, I don’t think it was a lack of knowledge
that caused the priest to cross to the other side of the road, nor was it a lack of knowledge that led the Levite to do
In our own
experience, has Bible knowledge always kept us on
the straight and narrow? Despite commandments instructing us to use our money, time, and resources to help others; to show
mercy and compassion to the downtrodden, suffering, poor and marginalized, have we ever violated or failed this command?
Have we ever looked for disclaimers or exclusionary clauses? Absolutely! So then we must agree that “knowledge”
is not a fail-safe motivator for unconditional compassion.
Perhaps the reason the priest and Levite crossed to the other side of the road was they didn’t
feel the half-dead man worthy of their help? No doubt these were busy and important men who possibly were on their way to
an important meeting or to teach the law to others. What did this nameless man’s needs have to do with them anyway?
No, they had places to go and things to do and besides, stopping along this road was risky!
The Samaritan, on the other hand, did not feel this man was beneath
him, nor ask to see the beaten man’s resume or ask for references before taking action. He saw this nameless man as
his neighbor and acted accordingly. He allowed himself to be inconvenienced, risked his own safety, and delayed his journey
so he could care for him. The Samaritan saw the need and without questioning the man’s worthiness immediately responded.
What the law expert
lacked that the Samaritan had was compassion, mercy, and love: defining
characteristics of Jesus Christ that led Him to the cross.
thankful Jesus’ mercy, compassion, and love for us is not based on our worthiness. (Thank You Jesus for going to the
cross for MY sins!) Were it based on our worthiness, we’d be doomed for sure!
Not until we fully understand and appreciate our own unworthiness
before God can we truly feel and extend unconditional compassion for others. A compassion that reaches beyond race, religion,
family, social backgrounds and every other barrier. Compassion that is selfless, takes risks, and seeks to emulate the lifestyle
of Jesus. Jesus says to inherit eternal life we must “Go and do the same.” We must become like the Good Samaritan.
Who is our neighbor? Our neighbor is everyone.
And as always…be blessed and go and be a blessing!
by Gary Henry
very nature of intelligence is sensitivity, and this sensitivity is love. Without this intelligence there can be no compassion.
Compassion is not the doing of charitable acts or social reform; it is free from sentiment, romanticism and emotional enthusiasm.
It is as strong as death. It is like a great rock, immovable in the midst of confusion, misery, and anxiety” (Jiddu
ARE IMPORTANT BOTH PHYSICALLY AND EMOTIONALLY. In the physical realm, if our fingertips are insensitive (that is, they can’t
feel anything), that is a significant problem. But emotionally, if we have a low degree of sensitivity (our HEARTS can’t
feel anything), that is an even greater problem. Our senses, whether physical or emotional, are meant to give us feedback
from the external world, and if they don’t do so, then we are isolated within our own selves.
As Krishnamurti suggests, sensitivity is closely linked to love.
Love is an outward-moving force that urges us in the direction of others. It causes us to want to serve their needs. But
to act responsibly, love must be preceded by sensitivity. We must be able to “feel” with our hearts the experiences
and needs of those around us. It is difficult to imagine how a person could love and not make an effort to be sensitive.
We may love and not be as sensitive as we ought to be, but love will make us want to IMPROVE our sensitivity, at the very
paying conscious attention to those around us. “It means ‘tuning in’ to the thoughts and feelings of [others],
listening to the cues they give us, and reacting appropriately to what we detect” (James C. Dobson). For busy people
like us, that is not easy.
only does sensitivity require conscious effort; it is somewhat dangerous. It requires openness, receptivity, and even the
willingness to be vulnerable. It can’t be practiced very well by “protective” people.
In the end, it is usually suffering that teaches
us what sensitivity means and how to practice it. It is the taste of tears that makes our hearts more responsive to the
tears of others. And it is the struggle to overcome difficulty that makes our “senses” more alive and alert.
“The most beautiful people we have known
are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths.
These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness,
and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen” (Elisabeth Kubler-Ross).
The Fullness of the Lord's Compassion
It's interesting to note the five times the gospels
mention the word compassion in connection with out Lord, it
covers every act of compassion we should possess. Notice:
- Compassion for others who were lost spiritually: But
when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on
them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep
having no shepherd. Matt. 9:36
for the sick: Mat_20:34 And Jesus, being moved
with compassion, touched their eyes; and straightway they received their
sight, and followed him. Mar_1:41 And being moved with compassion, he stretched forth his
hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou made clean.And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them,
and he healed their sick. Matt. 14:14
for those who had physical needs that weren't being met: Then Jesus called his disciples unto
him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because
they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not
send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way. Matt. 15:32
- Compassion for one who needed forgiveness: Then
the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed
him, and forgave him the debt. But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which
owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him
by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. And his
fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should
pay the debt. So when his fellowservants saw what was done,
they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. Then his lord, after that he had
called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all
that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou
also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered
him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto
him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto
you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses. Mat 18:27-35
- Compassion for those in grief: Now when he came
nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried
out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much
people of the city was with her. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not.
And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood
still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. And
he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother. Luke 7:12-15
on those who were harmed by others: Luk_10:33,34 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was:
and when he saw him, he was moved with compassion, and
came to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring on them oil and wine;
and he set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. Notice: Jesus also noted those who did not have compassion. God
- Jesus had compassion on sinners:
Luk 15:18-20 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned
against heaven, and in thy sight: (19) I am no more worthy to be called your son: make me as one
of thy hired servants. And he arose, and came to his father. But while
he was yet afar off, his father saw him, and was moved with compassion,
and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.
Children Without a Voice
by Marsha Norris
“And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to
one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward." —Matthew 10:42
and fifteen-year-olds Shari and Chrissy had walked to their Toledo, Ohio neighborhood Wendy’s late afternoon to get
a Frosty. Little did they know the high price that Frosty would cost. A Lincoln pulled up along side them, kidnapping and
forcing them into a prostitution ring. Shari and Chrissy would be taken to truck stops and forced to go from truck to truck
selling their bodies for sex. All for the lucrative benefits of their trafficker.
Please take a few minutes to watch their story and meet them at this
Truck stops, especially along the interstates,
are a booming business for pimps. Often young girls who have been abducted are taken to truck stops and told to “work
the truckers.” If a girl fails to meet her monetary quota that night, she is usually beaten or brutalized in some way
by her captor.
and Chrissy were fortunate in that they eventually were rescued due to a caring trucker who, noticing how young they were,
picked up his phone and called the cops. But many girls aren’t so fortunate. Most truckers, at least in the past, have
turned a blind eye to what is going on. Most likely for the same reason many of us would: they label these girls as “prostitutes
who are working the truck stop on their own free will,” never considering they have been abducted into that lifestyle. Rarely, let me repeat…rarely, is a prostitute selling her body because she chooses to. Behind most prostitutes is a pimp
who controls her through physical and emotional abuse and threats to harm her family. (And strangely enough, sometimes he
controls her through promising he will love and protect her.) We have failed miserably at LOOKING BENEATH the SURFACE and
recognizing that these young girls and women are actually victims
of human sex trafficking rather than prostitutes choosing this way of life.
Thankfully, truckers in many places are banding together to blow the
whistle on this crime and rescue girls being forced to go from truck to truck where they are violated. Praise God for these
compassionate souls! Yet the nagging question remains, “why isn’t law enforcement monitoring the truck stops?”
Twelve to fourteen is the average age girls are
abducted into human sex trafficking. Sometimes these are runaways picked up on the street and befriended by a trafficker who
offers them food, shelter and protection. Sometimes they are seduced from meeting someone online. Even peers or friends at
school can lure them into this captivity. Unless rescued, they usually die within seven years. Often they turn to drugs (or
are forced to take drugs) to make their lives bearable. And did I say twelve to fourteen is the average age of abduction?
Some little girls as young as nine are abducted and violently degraded and used in this horrific way to fatten the wallets
of a slimy pimp! Think about it….how old are your daughters, granddaughters, nieces, friends’ daughters? Put
their sweet faces on the Children Without Voices and it becomes very personal.
The Republican and Democratic Conventions, the Super Bowl, and other
such national events are gold mines for pimps to traffic young girls. Massage parlors, escort services, strip clubs, brothels,
mail-order-brides, even nail salons (especially Asian salons) are often fronts for forced sex trafficking. And the traffickers
are not always your typical pimp. They can include intimate partners, parents or family members, gangs and criminal networks,
and small businesses.
you’re thinking, “That’s a problem for other countries, not here in the United States.” Well you can
think again. It’s happening big-time right here in our country. 100,000 children are commercially sexually exploited
in the United States each year and an estimated 200,000 – 300,000 youth are at risk for being sexual exploited. My state,
North Carolina, ranks 8th in the country for reported cases of sex trafficking. North Carolina? Are you kidding?
Unfortunately, no, I’m not kidding. Interstates, I-95, I-85, I-40; our agricultural and meat processing industries;
coastal tourism; immigration; military bases; and the high number of universities contribute to our high ranking. And thus
far, we are not numbered amongst the states that offer Safe Harbor to the victims. Safe Harbor laws protect children from
being penalized for their own abuse and exploitation. They close the gap between existing anti-trafficking laws and those
that allow for children to be prosecuted as criminals, even though they are victims of sex crimes. Currently few states have changed their laws to protect exploited children from prosecution.
Human sex trafficking
is the second-ranking crime in our country, close on the heels of illegal drugs. However, human sex trafficking is projected
to soon become the number one crime, displacing illegal drugs. Why? Because a drug can be used only once and its shelf life
is over. Whereas a human can be used over and over and over again. Each use increasing profits for the trafficker.
(Boys, too, are at risk for
abduction. The average age for boys abducted into trafficking is eleven to thirteen.)
Human Trafficking Hotline: 1.888.3737.888
If you suspect trafficking going on around you, please call the hotline number. Be assured you won’t
have to give your name or any other identification. During January, Human Trafficking Awareness Month, the hotline received
2,850 calls. The average number of calls per month during 2012 was 1,721.
In January Katie Couric, joined by Jada Pinkett-Smith, did a segment
on human trafficking. I urge you to go online and watch this video to better understand the invasiveness of human trafficking
right here in our faces and our need to get informed and inform others.
Are you mad yet? Does the very thought
of child sex trafficking make you sick? I hope so! Because together we are going to make a difference. We are going to learn
about human sex trafficking right here in our own country, hopefully in our own state, and help raise awareness. Until we
do, this most despicable of all crimes will go on and on.
So our assignment for now is to watch the two video links I’ve included, and to pray
for these precious, innocent children who have no voice. Pray for their rescue and restoration, for law enforcement to step
up their part, for citizens to be more vigilant and willing to get involved, and for the traffickers to come to know the power
and salvation of Jesus Christ.
And as always, be blessed…and go and be a blessing!
phone call in our house at 7:45 in the morning is rare. When I heard the preacher’s voice on the other end, I knew this
would not be good news.
“What’s wrong?” I stammered.
“I’m so sorry to tell you this, but Aaron Allgood died last night.”
Surely there had been a mistake. Aaron was 24 and a healthy young man.
I questioned. “What happened?”
“Aaron was killed by a drunk driver
who ran a red light. It happened right after midnight, just a half-mile from his house.”
my thoughts flew to his parents: two faithful, godly servants, always helping and encouraging others. No, this could not be.
Please, Lord, don’t let it be true!
Dazed, I hung up the phone and put my
head down and sobbed. Not for Aaron who was now in the “perfect world” and with Jesus, but for his parents, brothers
and family. I cried for their pain and the raw gaping whole in their hearts. What to do with that hole? Briefly I thought
about running away and leaving all the pain behind. But that is not possible. Our pain always goes where we go. It must be
acknowledged, embraced, and worked through. And my pain
was nothing compared to the pain Aaron’s family was enduring.
the next few days the Allgood’s home was flooded with spiritual family, extended family, and friends. Many arriving
with food; all arriving with compassion, hugs, tears, and memories of Aaron. His younger brothers (still in middle school)
were quiet, no doubt trying to comprehend how big brother could be there one moment and gone the next. Older brother was quiet
too. Most likely the same thoughts were running through his mind.
of the viewing guests overflowed the funeral home, lining up across the parking lot. Some said they waited two hours to greet
the family. Again, love and compassion flowed freely, comforting the family and all who came to pay their respects. Love reached
out and united all who came. Compassion wept with those who wept.
memorial service was held at our church building, the church home he had grown up in. Love and compassion arrived again:
overflowing the parking lot into the streets, down the streets and into adjacent neighborhoods. The auditorium seating spilled
into the foyer, nursery, down the halls and into classrooms. No doubt we tripled – at least – the number
allowed by the fire marshal. But he wasn’t there and we were, singing hymns, praying and sharing stories and memories
Addison, Aaron’s older brother, shared with us his experience
in the hours after Aaron died. Addison said he felt a need to go to Aaron’s house after leaving the hospital.
Once there he walked around the living room picking up things and putting them back down. And then he came across a piece
a paper with the following words in Aaron’s handwriting:
let my feet walk,
Tight filled on the path of righteousness
I want to be your child
Lord as I walk this life
My way and fall on all my mistakes
I do with a smile
As your child.
who has been living in California the past few years but had come to spend the holidays with his family, plans to move back
to North Carolina soon. He also plans to take the words Aaron wrote and make them into a song. What a beautiful memorial to
his brother that will be! And I just can’t wait to hear it!
Lord, let my feet also walk tight on the path of righteousness, I want to be Your child!”