Category Archives: Servanthood


If you want to write a hit song for Millennials, here’s how (that is, according to a joke I saw recently):  First you start with some banjo.  Then all the musicians shout “Hey!”   The body of the song should contain complaints about life by Millennials.  Then another “Hey!”  Finish with a bit more banjo, played faster and fading out.  Like any good joke, it’s an exaggeration based on a bit of truth.  And the truth is, young people tend to complain when things aren’t going the way they hoped.  And write songs about it.  It’s not just Millennials.  My generation did it back in the 60’s.  “I’m just a man of constant sorrow. I’ve seen trouble all my days.”  We sang that with earnest looks, even though our “days” were just getting started.

But, spend time with an old farmer, someone who has struggled through the ups and downs of a tough life, and you’re much more apt to hear a fiddle tune than a bunch of complaining.  The farmers I have known are well acquainted with the fact that life ebbs and flows through good times and bad, and that complaining only makes it worse.  In fairness to Millennials, their generation is also known for a desire to “keep it real.” And in time, by “keeping it real,” they will be known for patient acceptance of life’s various seasons.  Because those seasons are real.

Perhaps the most famous section of Ecclesiastes are these next verses.

1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace

(Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)

Try to identify exactly which of these seasons you have experienced and when.  Call to mind any of the ways you experienced God’s influence and care during them.

The Good Stuff

Can you imagine the laughter back in the kitchen?  When Jesus turned water into wine the only people who were in on the secret were the servants.  They knew because they had taken the foot-washing pots and filled them up with water, as instructed.

When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.”  (John 2:9-10)
How they must have laughed.  But it is worth noting that the only people who got to experience the power of Jesus were the ones who humbly worked with Him, doing what He said to do.  The others got to taste the wine, but they missed the good stuff.


Recant or be tortured to death.  Sound like ISIS?  Many Christians have faced that choice at their hands, but for the original disciples, it was the government who made that threat.  None of them caved.  All but John were executed.  How could they have been firm, so brave and so unwilling to change their story?  They were first-hand eyewitnesses.  They knew how outlandish their claims seemed.  But they seen, heard and touched Jesus before and after His resurrection. 

For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”  (​2Pe 1:16-17)
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.  (1John 1:1-3)

Who, Me?

Who do you want to meet in heaven? Jesus for sure, loved ones, special friends and then Biblical heroes like Peter or Paul.  Sound about right?   But there is a chance Peter will be just as excited to meet you!  

Here’s why.  Peter began his second letter with these words:

1​ Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: 

Your faith is on an equal footing with Peter’s.  That is because when you place your faith in Jesus he gives you the same spirit Peter received.  That is why Jesus taught us we are all brothers and sisters and not to lord it over one another.  Peter got the memo.

Like Peter’s Mom

And when Jesus entered Peter’s house, he saw his mother-in-law lying sick with a fever. He touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she rose and began to serve him. (Matthew 8:14-15)

I wonder if Peter’s mother instantly felt 100%.  Maybe, after Jesus healed her fever, she still had lingering side effects.  If so, maybe, taking Him at His word, she began to act with full assurance those lingering side effects would go away.  If that was the case, she is a model for us.

Since I trusted Jesus, even though I experience the amazing rush of new life, there are still lingering side effects of my old, dead style of existence.  You too?  Probably.  Jesus intends for us to imitate Peter’s mom, trusting Him for the full fix in due time. Get up and serve Him now.

Don’t Quit

When I read a novel, I tend to skip those little quotes and  poem thingies at the beginning of the chapters.  Most of the time I don’t understand them; they leave me confused and feeling ignorant.  I want to say, “Enough with these inscrutable quotes! Let’s get on with the story, already.”  There are sections of the Bible that make me restless, too. In the final paragraphs of Colossians (Colossians 4:7 ff), Paul gives final greetings and instructions to specific people that don’t seem to mean much to me, 2000 years later. 

But this morning, as I read those verses, I was struck by how passionate and unstoppable Paul was.  His last few sentences are filled with words like “struggle,” “encourage,” “fellow workers,” sending,” etc.  The last verse reads:

I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.  –  (Colossians 4:18)

Very likely, Paul dictated most of his letters because he had a physical handicap with his eyes.  Also, he was chained up as a prisoner. He had two good excuses to give it a rest.  But he was absolutely consumed with the urgency of telling people about Jesus.  As he wrote earlier in the letter,

For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.  (Colossians 1:29)

What’s the deal?  Why was Paul so passionate?  My guess is it had a lot to do with his being personally visited by Jesus as he traveled to Damascus (see Acts 9:1 ff).  Jesus showed up, blew his mind and changed his whole outlook.  So Paul had first–hand proof Jesus knew where he was and what he was doing.

Well, so what?  What’s that have to do with us? There is a good chance that Jesus has personally visited you with proof of Who He is and has changed your whole outlook, too.  Maybe He didn’t blind you with intense light, but if you reflect on what He did do, the circumstances that led to your personal conversion, you will probably see they were arranged for you. Your Savior knew where you were and what you needed.  He still does.  He also knows what He has equipped you to do. Let the truth of that motivate you. Tell others how wonderful it is to know and follow Jesus.

But, maybe you have not experienced such a personal “visit” from Jesus.  If so, and if you are open to it, let down your defenses and pay close attention.  Jesus will show up in a way that will rock your world.  You can count on it because He knows you, loves you, and knows what you need.

Are You Ready? Part 1

One of the hassles of selling your home is that you have to keep that place ready for folks to come to see it, for them to come at any time of day without much notice.  It’s stressful to stay ready for an inspection at all times.  But Jesus tells His followers to be ready for His return, which will come when we least expect it.  You have probably spotted a crucial distinction: the difference between getting ready to look perfect in an artificial way and being ready because that is how you naturally live.  The first kind of readiness is stressful; the second is not.

But what does it mean to be ready?  Jesus told a parable about what it means, recorded in the 12th chapter of Luke, starting at verse 35.  Let’s take a close look at what that parable means and consider how it applies to our lives today, once again by means of a recorded message.  If you have been following these blog posts you know I’m experimenting with this format.  I really appreciate your feedback on what works and what does not.  This week, I’m going to break the message up into three sections but post them separately, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  (That is, if Jesus hasn’t come back before Friday!)

What does it mean to be ready?  Let’s begin with a mindset of readiness, something NFL punters know a lot about:

Next time we’ll talk about turning the mindset of readiness into action.