As I’ve previously mentioned, in December I’ve deviated from the One Word devotional reading topics and have done something different.
2020 has been a hard year for many people, including many in our congregation. Anxiety levels for some people are higher than ever. Professional counselors are suggesting that they’re receiving a record number of requests from people who are seeking help for various problems.
For December I’m preaching a short series called, “Daily Practices for Anxious Times.” I sense there’s a need for us to revisit some of the most basic and ancient practices of the Christian faith to help us recenter and to make sure we’re grounded in our relationship with Christ.
The first Sunday of December was about prayer, and the second Sunday was about Scripture. Tomorrow we’re going to talk about serving.
One struggle that most of us have is getting wrapped up in self, especially during difficult times. We focus on our needs and our wants and our problems, and it can become a pretty miserable way to live.
But Jesus calls us to a different way, of course. The best way to get out of our own heads is to become outward focused. When we find ourselves becoming discouraged, that suggests that we’re probably not doing much to help others.
Notice the progression: we pray and we read Scripture . . . these are vertical disciplines; i.e., they focus on our relationship with God.
But the corollary to loving God with all our hearts is to love our neighbors as ourselves, so our commitment to prayer and Scripture leads us to take action, particularly to benefit the people around us.
In our text for tomorrow, Jesus teaches us a fundamental lesson. Like the disciples, we can obsess over personal advancement and glory, but he directs us to become servants. And, of course, he sets the perfect example in how he lived and died.
So . . . every day, we take time for prayer and Scripture, and we learn to be intentional about finding someone to serve and bless. These fundamental attitudes and actions might do wonders in helping us navigate anxious times.