I appreciate the rhythm of the book, allowing a time of rest each week, to remember what it is that drives us to seek mercy and justice (restoration) in this world. It reminds me of the internal tension I often deal with between freedom and responsibility.
These two realities exist in my life. I am free and belong to no man (power, influence, expectation). I am a slave to everyone, living not for my own needs, but for the needs of others.
The interesting thing is that if I fully embrace my freedom (where it comes from, what it truly means for me), then I gladly walk into my responsibility to serve the world.
If, however I begin with my responsibility, attempting to see and meet all of the needs around me; I do not always end up experiencing freedom. Instead I find myself in a place full of guilt, apathy, bitterness, or cynicism.
In John 13 we read these words about Christ, "Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up..." and served, and died. See the progression. It begins in freedom; in resting in the truth of who he was, who it was that held him, and where he truly belonged... in that place he then got up and served those closest to him and then died for us all.
Paul echos this thought in 1 Corinthians 9 when he tells that community of believers that the freedom he finds in Christ creates in him a desire to follow the example of Christ, and serve all men.
What do you think it would do for your heart towards others if you truly understood just how free you are?
Free from worry over how others receive you.
Free from expectation over how effective and efficient your acts of service are.
Free from responsibility to figure out the how, either in the short term or the long term.
Free from the financial burden of meeting physical needs.
Free from the need to be perfect in discerning emotional needs.
What if you serve a God who is truly able to meet all of those needs and the thousands that you cannot even imagine today? What if, because you belong to Him, He is longing to actively work in and through you to meet physical, emotional, and spiritual needs in your community?
What about you... do you want to join Him? As you rest in the grace He has lavished upon you, is there a stirring in your heart to join Him in that work for others?