Message from your Pastors
This week we are launching a new Mid-Week Devotional email sent among the congregation. It is my hope that you might find this resource an enriching supplement to your weekly time with the Lord, as well as Family devotional time. The email will contain a devotional thought from one of your pastors, a suggested scripture reading, a sample prayer for consideration, and a musical selection.Pastor Jon English Lee
Last Sunday night I preached about the theme of being “devoted to the service of the saints,” a phrase Paul uses in 1 Corinthians 16:15 to commend the example of the household of Stephanus (sermon text and audio may be found here). I looked at reasons why people might not be devoted, how Christ is our perfect example of devotion to service, and gave many concluding encouragements to spur us on service.
I write today to expand on a few ideas that were prompted by the sermon. The first is the question: “Can someone be TOO devoted to the service of the saints?” I’d answer that in a couple of ways.
First, we must remember that devotion to serving the saints is never to be uncoupled from devotion to the Lord. Stephanus’ household is described as the “first converts in Achaia,” reminding us that devotion to the saints must necessarily be preceded by and encompassed with devotion to the Lord.
Second, we must remember that devotion to the service to the saints is not devotion to service, per se, but devotion to serving the saints. A devoted Christian will be motivated by love to pursue the good of their fellow church members, not merely to do all the work. A sense of duty alone will produce imbalanced Christians who tend to burn out. Rather, fueled by love for God, we’re called to love others, especially the household of faith (Eph. 6:10).
My love for my brothers and sisters may cause me to serve in all kinds of ways, or it may cause me to forgo serving in particular ways so that others might have the chance to exercise their own spiritual gifts. Service shouldn’t be motivated by a sense of “I’ll just do it, it will be easier,” because that’s simply a focus on myself and what is easier for me. Nor should we be motivated to serve “because nobody else will do it if I don’t.” That is not thinking the best about our brothers and sisters.
Pastor Jon English Lee
Rather, “let all that you do be done in love” Paul says in 1 Corinthians 16:14. Love may compel me to serve in certain ways, or to abstain from serving, if such refraining is better for the saints. But it’s not duty or self-interest that drives the decision. Love compels me in every act. Devotion to God constrains and directs my devotion to serve the saints.
May this prayer from the early church edify you
in your quiet time with the Lord this week
O Holy Spirit, Love of God,Augustine of Hippo, 4th Century A.D.
pour out your grace,
and descend plentifully into my heart.
Enlighten the dark corners of this neglected dwelling,
and scatter there your cheerful beams.
Dwell in that soul that longs to be your temple.
Water that barren soil, overrun with weeds and briars,
and lost for lack of cultivating,
and make it fruitful with your dew from heaven.
Come, refreshment of those who languish and faint.
Come, Star and Guide of those who sail in the tempestuous sea of the world. You are the only Haven of the tossed and shipwrecked.
Come, Glory and Crown of the living, and only Safeguard of the dying.
Come, Holy Spirit, in your great mercy, and make me fit to receive you. Amen.
The Way of the Righteous and the Wicked
1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
2 but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.
3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.
4 The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
6 for the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.
Learn this song as a household and raise up praises to God
Psalm 23 by The Corner Room