5th January

st joseph workerOn the eve of the Epiphany we may well contemplate how Mary and Joseph put their lives at the service of God and his plan of salvation. They used all their personal gifts to this end. We too have gifts and are invited by God to put them his service and the service of others. The following meditation is from Premier Christian Media and Dr Micha Jazz. It is based on “God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.” 1 Peter 4:10

As a child, when asked what I wanted to do when I was grown up, I would say I wanted to be a butler! I’m not sure why, but something about organising life so that it was convenient, confidential and comfortable appealed to something deep within me.

Serving is something many struggle with. When so many relationships are built out of a purpose-driven necessity, serving can often provide no more than a pretext for securing my own ambitions. The heart of the gospel is preferring others above ourselves, yet to do so runs the very real risk of placing myself at a disadvantage.

Personal ambition is to be encouraged, yet not at the expense of human value. While I may be gifted, this is not purely for my own and my family’s advantage. I am gifted to play a significant role within society. This was understood by many of our Victorian forebears, who recognised that philanthropy offered them a chance to give back from the wealth they had generated through business, good fortune and inheritance. We, however, live in an age where wealth is increasingly retained by a shrinking minority, and once wealth is created it is to be preserved and invested for self-advantage.

Therefore, modelling a kingdom community is challenging, for who wants to live a life of service, for fear we may be the only one, and ruthlessly exploited? The degree to which we yield to God and serve without worrying about the consequences is the degree to which we reveal the sincerity of our love for God.

Today some churches are increasingly irrelevant, for they offer no more than a reminder of all our yesterdays. But if we were to rediscover and apply Peter’s injunction to serve, we might create an environment attractive to all.

QUESTION: How aware are you of your gifts and how willing are you to invest them effectively for the welfare and benefit of others?

PRAYER: Saviour, may the gifts you’ve given me be used for your people, your kingdom, and for your glory.