Friday, April 27

Pleasing our neighbours...

My Bible study this past week was on Romans 15:1-13. Part of the study notes focused on verses 2-3, which says "Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For even Christ did not please himself." They discussed Christ's life of service, and how he was focused completely on serving his father's purpose, which was to serve us, humanity, and not himself. Therefore, since Christ is our example, I am to be focused on serving my heavenly father's purpose, and on serving others. SO tricky!

So that is what I have challenged myself to be working on lately. I find it very easy to compartmentalize. Because I work in a Christian-organized group home, it's so easy to say that I fulfill my service quota. I spend long days feeding, bathing, toileting, dressing and putting up with behaviours of adults with mental and physical disabilities. That is most definitely service. And although it's certainly good, it's not enough. I am called to a LIFE of service, not to moments of service. That needs to carry out to my home life, in serving and seeking to please James, and to the rest of my life, in serving and seeking to please those I come into contact with on a daily basis. Suddenly, I am not so saintly for wiping bums all day...because after that I go home crabby and demanding because I'm tired. Not only that, but my time-off from work becomes almost 100% "my" time. The neighbours I am to please include my husband, and the people I run into, not just the people I work with and for.

So, service this week for me means holding myself to the same level of tidiness I hold my husband to (and not nagging). It means being willing to set aside my opinion. It means being patient with others in traffic, or the crowded grocery store. Basically, it is to be constant.

Suddenly, I see the potential for burn-out. That doesn't mean that I should step away from the challenge, but rather, that I should continue to follow the example of Christ. Jesus was able to constantly serve because he was constantly relying on the power of God through the Holy Spirit. He slipped away to pray and be rejuvenated in God's presence. It is only by relying on him through prayer and scripture that this service will be possible.


  1. I can identify with what you are saying. As a pastor, it is easy for me to feel as if I have done my bit at work. We are supposed to be 24-7 Christians. However, I am not sure that our main calling is a life of service. Remember that the father rejected the prodigal's offer to be a servant but accepted him as a son. We are primarily called to be children of God. In this we are called to love everyone, sometimes that will manifest as service, sometimes not. We are definitely not called to please everyone. If we are, Jesus failed miserably. Sometimes true love is far from pleasing. I recommend that you read Mark Buchanan's The Rest of God. It is about finding our Sabbath rest, but at the same time letting that shape how we work for God as well.

  2. I better clarify, since the Romans passage does specify "pleasing." To please in the Bible is not the way people think of it today. Pleasing is not about making people happy. Pleasing is about putting other concerns before your own. It is about fleeing selfishness. We can not control if other people are pleased, but we can put other people before our own needs as an act of love.

  3. Yeah, although I didn't really talk about that, essentially what I mean by "pleasing" or serving others is being willing to prefer their needs above my own. I certainly don't mean "people-pleasing" in the common understanding, because that doesn't necessarily lead to anyone's betterment.

  4. wow, rachel... that is totally amazing!! I do want to challenge you a bit more though. I think i mented to you that i was doing a mini sermon for a bunch of women at my church and i was going to be speaking about romans 12 - the whole chapter. There it talks about what i believe is obedience in worship. Read the whole thing from the message. I know it really spoke to me - it talks about doing what we normally do as a service to God, the things we are good at, and the not so good things... our laying down, getting up, going to work, going to school etc etc. It talks about how we don't bring things to God - he brings it to us!! And that we shouldn't misinterpret what we are doing. It also goes on talking about our gifts... anyway, i often believe that we complicate worship, and mould it into this perfect little shape that we prefer, however, God doesn't want that... he wants us to worship him in every momement... Phil, the worship pastor of our church mentioned to us that Obedience is integral to worship. And worship should be transformational. So, i believe that you are on a journey of discovering new ways of worshipping God!! YAY! i love the worshipping journey! I'll leave you with one last thought:

    God created us
    God redeemed us
    God transformed us ...

    what should our response be to that?


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