This weekend while working in the yard I was listening to music on my iPod as is my custom. One of my favorite Christian artists, someone Karen and I have had the pleasure of meeting a couple of times, is Mark Harris, formerly of 4Him who is now a very successful solo artist and songwriter.
His newest CD “Stronger In The Broken Places” is one you will want to add to your collection. One song you may never hear on the radio is one that should be played over and over again. It is titled “Cold Water” and in it Mark asks the Lord how long has it been since he worshiped Christ with a cup of cold water in His name. He acknowledges all the typical Christian worship things we do in our daily walk in Christ. For some reason as I was ending up my yard work this song came on and pierced my heart in two. How long has it been since I worshipped you Jesus with a cup of cold water?
Of course he is singing of Christ’s teaching on how we shall truly love Him:
“He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward. And he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward.” (Matthew 10:40-42)
Do you see your serving in church as a love offering to Jesus, or is a love offering nothing more than giving above your tithe? We give so much to those we love, we work extra hard to provide, to give nice things and to live a wonderfully comfortable life, and we do it all for the love of our family. And we do well by this.
But do you serve Jesus as an act of worship and is that rooted in your love for Him? Those are the questions that Mark’s song bring to my heart. Do I serve in church because of my love for Christ? Do I serve Him as an act of worship, offering a cup of cold water and washing feet because I so love my Lord. Or do I do it for selfish reasons?
So many people marvel at how much time Christians spend in church, giving money and time that could be spent on recreation. This is not merely a modern-day experience. One of the most loving acts of worship was mocked and is recorded in the Bible:
“Then, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead, whom He had raised from the dead. There they made Him a supper; and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with Him. Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil. But one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, who would betray Him, said, ‘Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?’ This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it. But Jesus said, ‘Let her alone; she has kept this for the day of My burial. For the poor you have with you always, but Me you do not have always.’” (John 12:1-8)
Beloved, sometimes serving our Lord Jesus Christ will never make sense to the world and even to those closest to us. But it always makes sense to Christ. Jesus made it clear for us that the epitome of love for Him is found in serving Him:
“So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these? He said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.’ He said to him, ‘Feed My lambs.’ He said to him again a second time, ‘Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?’ He said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.’ He said to him, ‘Tend My sheep.’ He said to him the third time, ‘Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?’ Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, ‘Do you love Me?’ And he said to Him, ‘Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed My sheep.’” (John 21:15-17)
Jesus had restored Peter back into His ministry by commanding him to feed His sheep; to tend to His flock. We too often take the liberty we have in Christ and use it for our own benefit, or as did Peter, for our own safety. The Apostle Paul warns about this:
“For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” (Galatians 5:13)
Are you using your liberty in Christ as an opportunity for the flesh? Am I? We do so too often as a means of pride to boast of what we are doing at church. Instead we must serve through love for one another. And most importantly, we must serve as an act of worship unto and out of love for our Lord Jesus Christ. When we do this, we ease others’ burdens.
More on that tomorrow…
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Copyright © 2012 David Jeffers