Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Pickles anyone?

Happy are those who are strong in the Lord, who want above all else to follow your steps. When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of springs where pools of blessing and refreshment collect after rains! They will grow constantly in strength, and each of them is invited to meet with the Lord in Zion. (Psalm 84:5-7 TLB)

Strong carries different meanings for different folks. To the one who cannot open the jar of pickles, strong are the hands of the one who makes it look so easy. To the one who cannot take their failing pet to the vet for those last few moments of life together, strong are the arms of that one who stands alongside even though it wasn't their lifelong pet. To the one who needs a trench dug through tough Arizona soil, strong are the arms of the teenage man who wields the pickax in rhythmic movement until that soil yields to his strength. Strong is often observed in ways we might label as "service" toward another. When we were weak, another was strong on our behalf.

Service isn't for the weak. It begins by recognizing the need exists - something that we may not believe possible becoming possible because someone 'steps up' with a strength greater than our own. The most memorable service of this type was that of Christ's strength being revealed when we had absolutely no way on our own to do away with our sin. That strength is multiplied day after day, each time we need a moment of grace to 'right' our missteps. His 'service' on our behalf never ceases, so why should we think he would desire any less of a response from us? Our service is an outcome of having been served in the greatest of ways possible!

It is this 'following in his steps' thing that we are considering this morning. The moment we decide to follow Jesus we enter into a lifestyle of service - becoming the strength others draw upon when their weakness or need is at its greatest. Some think weakness suggests some kind of 'bad thing' in one's life, but where I am weak is where I relish the service of another who is also connected to the heart of Jesus. Why? They might just be able to turn my weakness into a strength by that service! We don't have to fear God will ask us to give up all our worldly wealth and traipse off to some remote corner of the world to convert the natives. We have to fear we won't be responsive to the needs right there in front of us!

Service is all about serving where there is a need. The need may not be great to you, but to the one who is too weak to open that jar of pickles they have been craving for a week, that service is a blessing! Just sayin!