Acts of Service

Continuing my series of reflections on the application of what Gary Chapman described as the 5 Love Languages that apply in all relationships. Specifically here, looking at their application in our relationship with God. We have previously examined Words of Affirmation, Quality Time and Giving & Receiving Gifts.

Today, we look at Acts of Service.

Does God express His love to us through performing acts of service? When you read the Bible, it doesn't take long to appreciate the answer to that question is a resounding YES!

Let's just have a very quick survey through the Bible and pick out some highlights:

1. His creation - read Genesis 1:1-31. In particular note v27-31 and you can see that the whole act of creation was for man to live in and grow in relationship with God.

2. Expulsion from the Garden of Eden - read Genesis 3:21-24. Firstly God made clothes for Adam & Eve, then He expelled them from the Garden and prevented their return. This was to ensure they did not have access to the Tree of Life, which otherwise would have enabled them to live forever in their sinful state. It was an act of service to enable them and all subsequent people, to die physically, but hopefully to be redeemed spiritually to God, which eventually became possible through Jesus.

3. The Exodus - Read Exodus 7:1 -12:50. The mighty hand of God delivered the Israelites from slavery in Egypt.

And on it goes - God's protection over the Israelites in their 40-year journey in the desert; His power on display as they conquered Canaan; etc etc....

The supreme act of service, however, came in the form of Jesus. A concise summary is found in Philippians 2:6-11. I encourage you to read it, meditate on it and worship Him for it.

What about us? How can we perform acts of service for God, as a demonstration of love for Him?

Just a couple of days prior to Jesus being arrested, tried, executed and 3 days laterresurrected, Jesus spent a lot of time with His disciples, going over many of the matters He had been teaching them over the previous 3 years. Chapters 24 and 25 of Matthew's Gospel records a lengthy "sermon" by Jesus to His close companions. At the end of it, Matthew 25:31-46, He tells the parable of what is called the Sheep and the Goats. Jesus addresses this very issue. He summarises His views in verse 40 and also verse 45.

Firstly verse 40:

The King will reply, "I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."

Next verse 45:

He will reply, "I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me."

God views how we treat others as if we are treating Him that way. As we serve others, we serve God. As we ignore others, we ignore God. This can be quite confronting as we pause to consider this passage carefully. Rather than perhaps feeling condemned, (remember Romans 8:1), use it as a challenge to lift our game as we seek to obey the twin commandments of love.

God bless,

Tim Connelly

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