Monthly archives: November, 2016

Moving Companies, Jesus, and Us

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You’ve sold your house, closed on the new one, and beginning to feel the stress of having to pack up all your belongings to move across town. You swore the next time you moved, you’d hire a company to help. To the yellow pages internet you go. Consider your options. Which of these three companies will you pick?

 

  • Piano Crashers Moving Company
  • We Drop the Beat (and Your Boxes) Moving Company
  • Gentle Giants Moving Company

 

We’re told not to judge a book by its cover; would you judge a moving company by its name? In this case, you absolutely would! No matter how inexpensive your piano or how low the beats drop, you’re hiring Gentle Giants. Their name says it all. Your boxes and furniture are heavy, so you want the giant; and you want them to arrive just as they left, so you want the gentle. Moving complete. Let the unpacking begin!

 

While you unpack, here’s some Bible trivia for you—Philippians 4:5 comes right in between Philippians 4:4 and 4:6. (I promise, I learned more than that in seminary.) I also promise there is great significance in the Bible trivia I’m offering. Many of us can quote 4:4 (“Rejoice in the Lord!”) and 4:6 (“Be anxious for nothing”), but Philippians 4:5 gets lost in the mix. I can’t say for sure why, but I wonder if it’s because of the challenge it presents: “Let your gentle spirit be known to everyone. The Lord is near.”

 

We are to be known by our gentleness. Gentle Giants Moving Company, (a real company, by the way), is known by its gentleness while moving your valuables. It is seen in their work and in their name. We are Christians—little Christs. Should everyone, then, expect us to show the same gentleness Jesus exhibited? It is part of our very name.

 

Take into account a couple examples. Thomas wasn’t around when the other disciples got to see and touch Jesus’ hands and side after His resurrection. In fact, Thomas had to wait an entire week before he would get the chance. It’s no wonder he doubted. Give him some grace. When Jesus finally did show up again, knowing full well Thomas’ stance on believing, He didn’t respond with exasperation and anger. His response was, “Thomas, here you go. See and touch, because I want you to believe.” Gentleness.

 

When Saul was on his way to persecute more Christians (little Christs), Jesus interrupted the journey. Jesus questioned him, for sure, but made provision for Saul to make it to town safely, granted him full forgiveness of everything he had ever done, and empowered him to preach the gospel with boldness. He would become one of Jesus’ most famous followers of all time. Gentleness.

 

Jesus had his own moving company and we can join Him. He moved Thomas from doubt to belief with gentleness. He moved Saul from sin to repentance with gentleness. There’s more: He moved the woman at the well from outsider to missionary with gentleness. He moved the adulterous woman from shame to freedom with gentleness. He moved the thief on the cross to eternity with gentleness.

 

People don’t just have valuables; they are valuable. Be known by your name, Christian, and accept the privilege and responsibility to move them with the same gentleness shown you.


The Demand Of Selflessness

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According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, the definition of selfless is: “to show great concern for and willingness to give unselfishly to others.” It says ‘willingness to give,’ which indicates that selflessness is a choice; you have to be willing. Another edition gives the definition as, “to be devoted to other’s welfare or interest and not one’s own.”  When I think of the word devoted I think of taking a vow. We are to be willingly devoted to serve others.

David Nelmes (2007) describes selflessness as agape love. He says agape is unconditional love that is always giving and impossible to take or be a taker. It devotes total commitment to seek your highest best no matter how anyone may respond. This form of love is totally selfless and does not change whether the love given is returned or not. This is the original and only true form of love.

This is the kind of selfless love that Christ has for us. It is pretty humbling to think that Jesus selflessly laid down His life for us and loves us no matter what we do. We could do the greatest thing…or the very worst thing…it will never change how he loves us. He loves us freely without receiving anything and without condition.

Jesus is our standard and the perfect picture of selflessness. First, as God Himself, Jesus submitted to the will of the Father and secondly, He sacrificed himself for the sins of the world without condition.

What does it look like to consider a life of selflessness? How should it impact our relationships? How do we live out love in a selfless way? How do we get to a place where we can serve and give without condition and without expecting anything in return?

Well, to begin with, as basic as it may seem, we need to check our purpose and our priorities.

Are you ever so busy you find yourself on survival mode just trying to figure out how you will manage to complete the next task? How in the world could you find time to do something for someone else? So then what?

When I find myself there, I know it is once again time to…pause…step back…and reset my boundaries. The Word clearly tells us to, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).

When in the midst of times like that, when life becomes so full (even full of all good things), it seems an impossible task to purpose to give selflessly by putting others first. This is especially true when considering that sometimes being selfless can prove uncomfortable because of the unanticipated effort required. Sometimes a selfless act might mean we need to do something we might not want to do. Or maybe it turns into a bigger time commitment than we thought. However, God tells us in Philippians 2:4 to put others first by “…not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” Of course, we need to keep healthy boundaries in check. Sometimes, we may need to say “No”…and that’s okay. It is part of knowing the difference between inconvenient versus unhealthy. On the other hand, maybe it’s a small shift in our perspective that’s needed to become others-directed. Selfless acts may simply be the little things that include opportunities to be more thoughtful, considerate, and kind to those who God has put in our lives. When we begin to make ourselves available to the needs of others, the Holy Spirit will lead us.

Again in Philippians 2, we read, “Therefore, if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves” (1-3).

From 1 Thessalonians 2:14, we know we are to imitate Christ’s humility: “For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus.” If we are to be imitators of Christ we must be purposeful to be more like Him in order to live a life of selflessness with intention. We should serve selflessly out of shear gratitude for who He is and what He has done for us. We should give to others unconditionally with no reciprocity, because God loves them, too, and that is how God gives to us. We are called to be imitators of Christ and live in a way that reflects Him.

Are we willingly devoted to serve others?

In the name of Jesus, may the Lord help us to develop an ability to serve others and make us ever mindful of the needs of those around us. May the residue of His Holy Spirit, living in us, permeate our lives as we grow to selflessly love like Jesus.  Amen.

 

 

-Guest writer Jane McCann and her husband John are Love Defined small group leaders. They have been married for 32 years and have 3 adult children. Jane has been a school teacher for 33 years and enjoys   spending time with her 2 grandchildren in her spare time.

McCanns