With the passing of the Reverend Billy Graham today i think it fitting that we have reached this point in our “Thy Kingdom Come” series. No doubt he (Rev. Graham) heard the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant” when he walked into glory. His humility throughout his life is something to be emulated, not to mention his desire to offer of himself and serve. There are two quotes i want to share here from the Rev. Billy Graham that i have read today in various places. The first, “The highest form of worship is the worship of unselfish Christian service. The greatest form of praise is the sound of consecrated feet seeking out the lost and helpless.” WOW, i find myself both in agreement and challenged at these words. And that’s only the first quote! Here is the second, “Each life is made up of mistakes and learning, waiting and growing, practicing patience and being persistent.” Here i am comforted and inspired.
When the church uses the word “offering” folks immediately jump to tithes or money. Although that is definitely a part, it is not the whole. You see offering is giving and one can and should give from the heart. Whether that is tithe or special gifts or time, effort, and resources of a non-monetary form. When we make an offering of time to the church, the body of Christ, we are essentially giving in multiple areas. One might ask, “Isn’t that service?” Yes, and no, is the answer. Yes in that we are serving the church when we offer our time and talents. However, service is much deeper. By this, i mean that we are to serve everyone, not just the members of the body of Christ.
i want us to look at Matthew 25:31-40 here we will see exactly what i am talking about straight from Jesus’ mouth (from the Message).
31-33 “When he finally arrives, blazing in beauty and all his angels with him, the Son of Man will take his place on his glorious throne. Then all the nations will be arranged before him, and he will sort the people out, much as a shepherd sorts out sheep and goats, putting sheep to his right and goats to his left.
34-36 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. And here’s why:
I was hungry, and you fed me,
I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless, and you gave me a room,
I was shivering, and you gave me clothes,
I was sick, and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison, and you came to me.’
37-40 “Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.'”
i really like how the Message spells this out, “Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me — you did it to me.” WOW! When we make self-sacrificing service, through sincere faith, we do so unto the Lord. This has challenged me over the years to evaluate why i do, why i give, why i serve, why i live essentially. What is my motive, what is my expectation, what is my heart? The answer, reveals whether or not i am serving others or myself…whether my actions are selfless or selfish. This passage continues…41-46
41-43 “Then he will turn to the ‘goats,’ the ones on his left, and say, ‘Get out, worthless goats! You’re good for nothing but the fires of hell. And why? Because—
I was hungry, and you gave me no meal,
I was thirsty, and you gave me no drink,
I was homeless, and you gave me no bed,
I was shivering, and you gave me no clothes,
Sick and in prison, and you never visited.’
44 “Then those ‘goats’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or homeless or shivering or sick or in prison and didn’t help?’
45 “He will answer them, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, that was me—you failed to do it to me.’
46 “Then those ‘goats’ will be herded to their eternal doom, but the ‘sheep’ to their eternal reward.”
Each of us holds a piece of the puzzle. Putting the puzzle together can be challenging. We will make mistakes. We will find our intentions were selfish, our motives, wrong. But do not lose heart, do not grow weary in doing good as it says in Galatians 6:9. We have unique and specific giftings, talents, and resources, each of us must examine ourselves and make an offering of our lives in service; financially and physically. Let me remind us of Rev. Graham’s words, “Each life is made up of mistakes and learning, waiting and growing, practicing patience and being persistent.” We may not always get it right, but we must still be ready, willing and able. As we learn to live in our Lords Kingdom here and now.
In our offering, and in our service, THY KINGDOM COME!
You are loved,