This week, we are practicing serving others. Typically, when we refer to “serving others”, we immediately think of meeting physical needs. But Jesus was clear in commanding us to serve others in a holistic way – physically and spiritually. Often, we do one or the other. This week, we want to do both as Jesus did.
In our gathering on Sunday, we read Luke 4:16-21, in which Jesus stunned those in his hometown synagogue by telling them that he was the fulfillment of the one prophesied in Isaiah 61. Specifically, Jesus told those gathered to hear him that the Spirit of the Lord had anointed him to proclaim good news to the poor; proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind; set the oppressed free; and proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. In other passages of Scripture, we read about Jesus meeting physical needs of those around him, but the times Jesus met a physical need, he also met a spiritual need. As we will see as we read through the Scriptures this week, he calls us to do the same.
Here is one way to engage in the practice of serving others this week:
Read. Each day, start your quiet time with God by reading Isaiah 61:1-3, which relates to spiritual needs, as well as the other passage listed for that particular day, which relates to ways Jesus met physical needs.
Ask God. As you read the daily passages, ask God to open your eyes to people in your life who have a need you could partner with God to meet. For example, “Father, is there someone in my life who is imprisoned by something – an addiction, a toxic relationship, a pattern of thinking? Are you inviting me to serve them in some way, whether with words of truth, an act of grace, a loving presence, or in some other way?” Be silent and listen.
Serve. Pray that God would allow your path to cross with the person he brought to your mind or with someone who has a need and that he would give you the words, actions, and courage to serve that person. Then, serve them in the name of Jesus Christ, who has set you free.
Daily Scripture Readings
Monday: Isaiah 61:1-3 and Luke 4:14-21
Tuesday: Isaiah 61:1-3 and Matthew 25:31-46
Wednesday: Isaiah 61:1-3 and Matthew 28:16-20
Thursday: Isaiah 61:1-3 and John 14:11-14
Friday: Isaiah 61:1-3 and John 20:21-23
Saturday: Isaiah 61:1-3 and Luke 10:25-37
Article: Moving from Solitude to Community to Ministry, Henri Nouwen
Books: Invitation to a Journey: A Roadmap to Spiritual Formation, Robert Mulholland