Saturday, April 08, 2006

40-Days to Servanthood: Day 35

Servants sometimes ignore their SHAPE.

Over the past week, we’ve talked about how servants find the kinds of servanthood for which God seems to have designed them by paying heed to what Rick Warren calls their SHAPE. That’s the acronym he uses for a servant's spiritual gifts, heart, abilities, personality, and experiences.

But sometimes, servants ignore their SHAPE and simply do the thing that most needs doing. Servants recognize that the words, “That’s not something I’m good at,” which are meant to sound humble, are often little more than a polite way of refusing to serve when service is needed.

One can imagine, for example, that the priest and levite who passed by the wounded man in Jesus’ story of the Good Samaritan might have justified their refusal to serve with those words, “That’s not something I’m good at.” (Luke 10:25-37)

Sometimes, God calls us to do things we’re not good at, so that we realize that without His help, we can do nothing, but that with God, all things are possible. (John 15:5; Matthew 19:26)

Shortly after I became a Christian, our small home church in Columbus wanted to offer a Vacation Bible School (VBS) to the community. But we were shorthanded and the people who had led the program in the past were tired. I had never taught elementary school-age children and had never run a VBS before. But I had always enjoyed attending VBS as a child and thought that it could be a means by which our church could reach out to the children and families of our neighborhood with Christ’s love. On top of all that, it was just something that needed to be done. So, I volunteered to run and be a teacher in our VBS that summer.

It didn’t necessarily reflect my SHAPE. But I learned a lot about God, about children, and about our congregation and we had a VBS that taught our congregation’s children and the community’s children about Jesus Christ.

The only ability God cares about, someone has said, is availability. Are you available when God needs a willing servant?

In order to serve, servants sometimes ignore their SHAPE.

Bible Passage to Ponder: “But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity” (Luke 10:33).

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