Week 4- Five Practices of Fruitful Christians: Risk-Taking Missions & Service
Ponder your circle of acquaintances for a few moments. Who do you enjoy most: those who have an inward, self-absorbed focus or those who have an outward, other person kind of focus? Jesus was a “man for others,” and he calls us to outward missions and service, too.
Prayer: Gracious God, your focus and attention is always outward. Jesus lived a life of sacrifice and service. Tune my heart to the Spirit of Jesus that I may be a blessing to others in his name. Amen.
MONDAY- Mark 1:16-20
From the very beginning Jesus called his followers to focus outward. When he called the first disciples, it was to fish for people just like they used to fish for fish. They don’t hop in the boat all by themselves. So Peter and Andrew, James and John learned to go looking for people who needed hope and help. Who will cross your path today that will need some hope and help in Jesus’ name?
TUESDAY – Matthew 10:32-42
I am haunted by verses 38-39. It is an oxymoron – we lose life when we think we have found it. We find life when we lose it for Jesus’ sake. Happiness apart from Jesus is an illusion. Mission and purpose in Jesus’ name is the key to fulfillment. How do you find your life in Jesus’ name? Anyone needing a cup of cold water in your day today?
WEDNESDAY – Matthew 25:31-46
This story of Jesus amazes me. Someone pointed out to me that neither group recognized Jesus among those in need. Those who responded to the needs merely did so because they were faithful to their call. But there were just as surprised as the other group that King was among the group of the needy. Could Jesus be among the people who will cross your path today? How will you reach out and help?
THURSDAY- Matthew 22:34-40
They were trying to trip him up. They recruited a teacher of the law to ask him a question to embarrass or discredit him. But Jesus answered by quoting the Old Testament. Deuteronomy 6:4 is the greatest commandment. But Jesus took it one step further by identifying the next one: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Some scholars think Jesus intended the second one to interpret the first one. As if to say, here is how you love God – love your neighbor. Loving God, then loving neighbor, becomes the motivation for sacrifice and service. Which of your neighbors needs your love today?
FRIDAY – Matthew 28:16-20
In Matthew’s gospel, these are Jesus’ last words to his followers. They are the Great Commission. He instructs them to go into all the world to make disciples. This is not about inward peace or union with the universe. This is not about comfort and ease. This is not about peace and prosperity. It is about sacrifice and service. True joy comes in serving others in Jesus’ name. Can you think of some examples when you sacrificed and served others that gave you great joy? If not, I have some great opportunities for you!
SATURDAY- Acts 1:4-8
Dr. Luke wrote the story of Jesus and then the sequel, the story of Holy Spirit working through the followers of Jesus.We do not know who Theophilus was, but in the Greek it means:“lover of God.” So maybe Dr. Luke was writing to us, too.In this passage, Jesus predicts how they will respond when they experience the power and presence of God through the Holy Spirit.They will become bold witnesses to the ends of the earth. I invite you to pray for the Holy Spirit today – so you may be a bold witness in your own end of the earth!