Thursday, April 06, 2006

40-Days to Servanthood: Day 33

There are at least as many ways to be a servant of God as there are Christians.

Your SHAPE is the prism through which the light of Christ is filtered and turned into a life of servanthood. Today, we explore the last two attributes in the SHAPE acronym invented by Pastor Rick Warren.

Personality: Parents of more than one child will often observe: “Our kids were raised in the same home. But the two of them couldn’t be more different!” Everyone, even identical twins, is utterly unique.

Your personality will have a lot to do with how you serve others in Jesus’ Name. You’ll serve best in ways that flip your personal switches.

Experiences: The best teacher in life is experience. More than anything, we are shaped by our difficult experiences.

Recently, I preached a message in which I mentioned that I was once fired from a job. I revealed that while it had been painful, getting fired had freed me to work at the State House of Representatives in Columbus, something I’d long wanted to do. But, to my surprise, I became indifferent to my new job. I described that feeling of being first, rejected, and then feeling empty in my new work as a wilderness experience in which God met me and ultimately led me to become a pastor. In the congregation on the day I shared this experience was a visitor to worship who later told me, “I just got fired from my job and what you said inspired me.”

My painful experience allowed me to connect in a helpful way with that woman. Your painful experiences may have been far more severe. You may be a recovering alcoholic or addict. You may have lost a child to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) or suffered the death of a loved one killed by a drunk driver. You may be someone in remission from cancer, a person who was downsized out of your career, or a woman whose husband abandoned you and your children. You may have a learning disability that you've overcome.

But whatever painful experiences you've weathered, they may lead you to a ministry. The experiences God has led you through can become the basis on which you provide helpful, relevant Christian service to others.

There are at least as many ways to be a servant of God as there are Christians. I urge you to use your SHAPE into your ministry of service to the Church and through it, to the world.

Bible Passage to Ponder: “So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ's body, let's just go ahead and be what we were made to be” (Romans 12:5-6, The Message)

UPDATE: Thanks to Bruce Armstrong for linking to all of the posts in this series and for his generous comments about them. I hope that people find them helpful!

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