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Thoughts for the Week -- May 8-14, 2000

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  • Mark Roth
    ============================================================ This edition goes out today to 384 subscribers. Thank you!
    Message 1 of 1 , May 7, 2000
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      ============================================================
      This edition goes out today to 384 subscribers. Thank you!
      ============================================================


      Suffering for the Gospel's Sake
      (2 Corinthians 4:5-18)


      Why should *I* have to suffer for the Gospel's sake?

      If I were to ask you that, what would you answer me? Be sure you tell me
      I'm asking the wrong question. Don't forget to point out that I seem to
      have the wrong attitude and the wrong perspective. And don't by-pass this
      opportunity to ask me why I'm following the Lord in the first place.

      By the way, why *are* you following the Lord? (If you aren't, why not?)
      Take the occasion of this lesson to review your reasons for choosing the
      way of righteousness.

      Time for another question: Does your life *prove* you are following the
      Lord? I think the first verse in our lesson text gives us at least two
      proofs. Let's look at them a bit.

      "FOR WE PREACH NOT OURSELVES, BUT CHRIST JESUS THE LORD." The one who
      follows the Lord closely and earnestly has no time or zeal for lifting
      himself up. His own agenda ceases to exist in preference to pursuing
      Christ's interests. Her talk is no longer an effort to impress others with
      what she has done or what she would like to do; rather, it is an effort to
      make known Jesus and His Gospel.

      Maybe that strikes you as too peachy, too unreal, too "holy" or something.
      Rest assured that I'm not suggesting the Christian should no longer talk
      about anything other than the Gospel and about anyone other than Jesus.
      What I'm trying to get across is that the message of my life should no
      longer be Mark Roth but Jesus Christ.

      "AND OURSELVES YOUR SERVANTS FOR JESUS' SAKE." The follower of Jesus
      prefers others above himself. He doesn't mind "being a doormat" if that is
      what Jesus calls him to be in order to serve another. After all, who would
      object to serving as the Lord's doormat! So you see, the Christian's first
      item on the agenda is Jesus; the second item is others. For Jesus' sake.
      Never forget that motivator!

      Recently I had a friend tell me, "I used to believe the servant theory.
      Unfortunately, it only seems to go one way. One side always needs to do the
      bending, and the other side being more 'right,' just does their thing. No
      reciprocity does a good job of destroying any desire to constantly be the
      one doing the bending." This is so true. It is also so tragic! This
      perspective ought to make us search our own hearts to discover our real
      motives for serving.

      For many years the Lord has been trying to teach me that a true servant
      cares only about serving and blessing others. The other lesson He must
      continually drill me on? Only love can motivate me to serve that way.

      If others don't serve, you serve anyway! Don't let the immaturity and lack
      of spirituality you perceive in them keep you from maturity and
      spirituality. Should *you* disobey just because you see disobedience in
      them?! Be *thou* an example of the believers. The solution is *not* to quit
      serving, no matter how sensible that may seem.

      God uses others to show me the lack in my own heart. When I have come to
      the place (which has been often!) of allowing others to destroy my desire
      to serve, I have seen my heart again...and noticed that in too many cases I
      was not serving out of love. If your spirit of service has flagged or died
      because of others, ask God to renew your love. "By love serve one another"
      isn't just a theory!


      ============================================================
      Thanks again for subscribing to this weekly devotional which
      I originally wrote for the youth Sunday School quarterly
      produced by Christian Light Publications.

      These are archived online at
      http://www.anabaptists.org/clp/youth/

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      Thank you!
      Mark Roth
      ============================================================




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