I spent the weekend in Alberta with an amazing group of women from the Airdrie Alliance Church. The weekend’s theme was Born to S.H.O.P. (Serve Him on Purpose), and what a fun theme that was! Here are a couple of highlights from the sessions:
- If we want to S.H.O.P effectively, we must be others-focused. In a society that says we have every right to pursue our own safety, comfort, and pleasure, it’s difficult to remember that others should come first. One look at Christ’s example, however, proves this is true if we claim to be His servants.
- If we want to S.H.O.P. effectively, we must keep our friendship with God our first priority. Many times the work we do for Him takes precedence over our relationship with Him, and then we wonder why our enthusiasm fades and our energy dies. Keeping first things first is the sure cure.
- If we want to S.H.O.P. effectively, we must say yes when He gives us an assignment, and then trust Him to work out the details.
I think the weekend’s theme fits well with Isaiah 41:8 – “But as for you, Israel my servant, Jacob my chosen one, descended from my friend Abraham, I have called you back from the ends of the earth so you can serve me. For I have chosen you and will not throw you away. Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.”
Sometimes serving God seems too risky, too time-consuming, costly, and exhausting. We feel overworked, misunderstood, and underappreciated. Before long, discouragement sets in and we feel like resigning. When that happens (or maybe before it gets that far), we ought to reread this verse and take heart.
God’s purpose for us is that we serve Him. For some, that means caring for small children in the home. For others, it means helping senior parents, or driving tweens to and from extra-curriculars. It may mean cooking a meal for a grieving family, visiting a shut-in, or befriending the grumpy neighbor across the street.
Whatever the serving situation, it’s likely we’ll face a few challenges along the way. Sometimes those challenges are easily overcome; sometimes not. In that event, we can be encouraged with the knowledge that God’s presence is with us. He will strengthen us, help us, and hold us in His victorious hand. What more do we need as ammo for successful servanthood? But guess what…it gets even better! If we’re faithful to Him, then Isaiah 41:16 holds true – “And the joy of the LORD will fill you to overflowing and you will glory in the Holy One of Israel.”
Wow – God calls us to serve Him, equips us with everything we need to do it, and then He fills us with overflowing joy. Sounds like a good deal to me. Here’s a question to toss around: What challenges have you faced in serving God? How did you see God’s promises to strengthen and help you fulfilled?