“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.” – Mathew 7:7-8 (NIV)
As promised by the scripture, God will help you. Many times his assistance comes by working through others—an acquaintance, a family member, a friend, or a stranger. Have your prayers, big or small, ever been answered by the actions of another? What if that person had decided against action because he or she was too busy, not in the mood, thought ‘I can’t do that’, or thought ‘it’s not my business’? Then, your blessing from God would have been delayed. Has God ever inspired you to help someone else? Serving God comes in all forms. You don’t have to be a foreign missionary or a local saint to serve God. Holding a door and smiling at a stranger; agreeing to serve on a committee at Church; volunteering in the community; choosing to build someone up with kind words and not judging are all ways that you can serve God. When someone asks you for a favor or you see a need, God could be trying to use you to answer that person’s prayers. God wants to use you for his work. Act on God’s subtle nudge, and be proactive and ask those around you if they need help. Some people are unsure who to ask for help, or afraid of being looked down upon. There are opportunities all around us. If you’re unsure of how to serve, pray, and tell God that you are willing, and an opportunity to serve will present itself.
PRAYER: Dear Lord, thank you for the blessings that you have given me through the actions of others. Lord, please use me to respond to the needs around me so that I may glorify you. In your name I pray, amen.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: What can you do to help someone have a better day? Start with smiling.
Written by Madeline White
Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’
– Matthew 25: 34-36
One of the most influential people in my childhood, besides my parents, was my Dad’s father, Taylor Buskirk. Granddaddy grew up with very little and then was tasked with raising a family during the Great Depression. In those days, to get by, Granddaddy had to develop different skills. He was a carpenter, dairy farmer, fisherman, master gardener and a barber. It was early in his barbering career when an opportunity to serve came knocking. A stranger showed up on the front porch in a lot of pain. His toe had been infected from an in grown toe nail. Being a barber certainly didn’t qualify you for medical procedures, but trained Doctors were scarce and someone had told the stranger that Mr. Buskirk may be able to help. I’ll spare the reader the details of how a country barber goes about repairing an infected toe, but it was cringe worthy to say the least. After the “operation” was complete Granddaddy bandaged the man up, sent him on his way and never saw him again. I remember sitting there amazed at his story and hoping I was never put in that type of situation when my Grandfather looked at me and said “When people ask you for help you are supposed to help them.” Then he paused and said rather emphatically “We are supposed to help them!” Service to others can be difficult, but he believed that Christian people have an obligation to be the hands and feet of Christ. Making ourselves available to serve is the first step. God will take it from there.
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, Give us the courage to step up to our responsibility to serve others so others will know your love. Thank you for the perfect example in Christ. Amen.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: We are here to serve.
Written by Todd Buskirk
Instead of being motivated by selfish ambition or vanity, each of you should, in humility, be moved to treat one another as more important than yourself. Each of you should be concerned not only about your own interests, but the interests of others as well. You should have the same attitude toward one another that Christ Jesus had, who though he existed in the form of God did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped, but emptied himself by taking on the form of a slave, by looking like other men, and by sharing in human nature. He humbled himself, by becoming obedient to the point of death—even death on a cross!!
– Philippians 2:3-8 2:3
A servant’s heart…..what exactly does that mean? I could list many examples of “service opportunities” and still miss the point of what Jesus wants us to understand about servanthood. In our culture we often reduce “service to others” to something that looks good on our resume. A “good” resume must contain several examples of participation in service organizations. Now this is not necessarily bad, because whatever the reason we become involved in service to others, we can be changed by it. I can’t help but believe, though, that God wants to be more than a blurb on our resume of life!
Jesus personified servanthood while he lived among us. His every thought, word, and action demonstrated how to be a servant. As our relationship with God deepens through prayer, mediation on His word, and time spent with other growing Christians, we have the opportunity to see that service to God is what we are to be about…..constantly. It is a change of heart. It is how we approach every decision we make everyday. God placed within us the innate ability to see the world through the lenses of how we can serve but those lenses have to be cleaned often to rid them of the haze that is formed when “the world” gets in the way. We can clean those lenses by deepening our relationship and our commitment to God daily. When we serve others, we are fulfilling God’s plan for our creation.
PRAYER: Dear God, Enter our hearts and show us how to follow the example provided by Jesus. Help us to be aware everyday of how we can serve You by serving others. In Christ’s name, Amen.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Open our hearts today to perceive the opportunities to serve that God has placed in our paths.
written by Leslie VanBuskirk
Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
– Galatians 6:2
Have you ever seen someone carrying a really heavy box through a door? They’re all red faced and sweaty, straining from the weight, and at the same time trying to do the one-handed-one-foot-door-opening technique. What’s your first reaction? To point and laugh? Stand back and watch – maybe give a few directional pointers, “A little to the left, a little more to the right.” No. Most people will stop what they are doing and help open the door, or help carry the box.
Now, what do you do when you see someone struggling with addiction? With unemployment? With faith? All too often, whether through our own fear, pride, or personal burdens, we become paralyzed with excuses when it comes to helping with those deeper burdens. “It’s none of my business.” “I’m just one person, what am I supposed to do?” “All they want is a handout.”
Paul reminds us in Galatians 6:2 “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Each one of us has been given a strength from God. It could be spiritual strength, financial strength, physical strength, or the strength of having “been there, done that, and survived”. By bearing someone’s burden, we help them catch their breath, recover, and regain their own strength and ability to move further down the path. When we use our strengths to help others, we are fulfilling Christ’s law – we are doing the work of God.
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I pray you give me the eyes to recognize the burden of another, and the strength to help them bear it. -Amen
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: If not you – who? If not now – when?
written by Tia Wright
“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
– 2 Corinthians 9:7 NIV
As we get older, we realize how fortunate that we are. God has blessed us in so many ways and we in turn need to praise God and thank Him for all with which He provides us and to support God’s work with our time, our talents and our tithes.
We must always keep in mind that everything that we have is actually on loan from God. We must take good care of all with which we are entrusted and manage it prudently and return it to God in as good or better condition than it was in when God gave it to us.
For 150 years members of First United Methodist Church of Tupelo, Mississippi have been willing to spend their time and money helping others. The members of our congregation have been good stewards of all with which God has entrusted us. As the current members of this congregation, we have the opportunity to continue being good stewards and to share our gifts with others.
As our scripture says, “God loves a cheerful giver.” Our congregation is made up of cheerful givers of their time and their money. By serving others less fortunate than we, relationships are built with God and with those whom we serve. In turn, we receive the joy and satisfaction of seeing the results of our labors and monetary gifts.
As we contemplate our gifts, keep in mind the old Proverb, “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.”
PRAYER: Dear God, Please help us to be good stewards and take care of all with which you have entrusted us. Help us to be cheerful givers. In Jesus name. Amen.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” – Proverbs 11:25 NIV
written by Robin McGraw
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms. – 1 Peter 4:10 (NIV)
As a self appointed family archivist, I have many a child’s drawing, or a penned gift to a parent. I assured the giver that the treasured gift would go in “your folder” for safe keeping. A favorite of mine is when one of our children was being taught the difference between fact and opinion. My gift reads, “You’re the best Dad ever! That’s an opinion.” The first sentence gives me much pride, while the second sentence keeps a lid on pridefulness.
First Peter, 4:10 tasks us with using our gifts to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace. Personally, I try to live up to my child’s opinion, succeed or fail, but always trying. We are all part of God’s family, we are his hands and feet; here to serve.
While it’s always nice to receive something, whether it is praise, or a gift, it is the spiritual gifts and how we use them that help us be in communion with God. Identify your gifts; use your gifts, your resources, and your effort to present your gift back to God. Don’t hide your talent as a parable mentions, but use it and let God’s blessing fill you! In this season of stewardship, center your thoughts on what is your best gift to God, only you know; only you can provide that, no one else.
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, help us to use your gifts wisely, to be free with our time with others, to be open to others, and open with our love. Help us to support our church, to receive its blessings, and to return our blessings in kind, with a grateful heart. Be with your church in this time of stewardship that we will hear your voice and rejoice.
Thought for the Day: Today Lord help us to be the best spouse, parent, daughter, son, sibling, friend, or member of the family of God that we can be.
written by Lindsey Leake
God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. – Peter 4:10-11
Our church always has financial needs to carry out our various ministries and to care for and preserve our facilities. We are very blessed that our members continue to meet that need. However, there are equally important needs for members to give the gifts of time and talent. We are blessed by the many volunteer members who provide their gifts by helping to meet that need.
A perfect example of this gift of time and talent are those volunteer members of our church who work three days each week in the Helping Hands Clothes Closet. Those volunteers receive donations of clothing and other items, sort those donations, and then assist those with needs who come on Saturday of each week to find things they can use. GOD must look down on those volunteers and be very pleased.
Every member of our congregation – both long-time members and newer members – can volunteer to offer their gift of support in some manner. It can be by actively participating in the physical and mental activity needed in each area of ministry as well as by praying and supporting those who are able and willing to provide their time and talent.
Let our church be a real part of your Christian life by volunteering to serve one or more of our ministries or by praying for those who are able and willing to give of their services in one or more of these ministries. We remember that we are GOD’s hands here on this earth.
PRAYER: Dear LORD, our LORD; We give thanks for the volunteers who give so generously of their time and talent in so many ways. We pray that others may be inspired to become a volunteer in whatever capacity each can serve. In Christ’s name: AMEN.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: You can be generously blessed by volunteering to offer your gift of time and talent.
written by Charles Johnston
Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing and your vats will brim over with new wine.
– Proverbs 3:9-10
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.
– 1 Corinthians 12:4-5
We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.
– Romans 12:6a
We have heard it said in Church and read in Proverbs 3: 9-10 to give God our first fruits. So many times we associate that giving with money and wealth. We read in Romans 12:6a that we have been given different gifts. While for some it is teaching children or adults for others it may be the gift of a smile or a hug. A note written to a friend is a gift that brightens the darkest of days. Reflect on the “small” things you could do to be a gift-given to others. Hold the door open for the person behind you; let the person with fewer items in their basket go ahead of you; anonymously pay for a meal for someone having a tough time; speak to the waiter/waitress or cashier…There are so many gifts in our barns that we can share with others to make this world brighter.
PRAYER: Gracious God, help me today be aware of areas I can use my gifts for others. Let me see ways that I can make this world brighter for you.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Find someone with whom to share your gifts with…
written by Trentice Imbler
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variations, neither shadow of turning.
– James 1:17
How easy it is to give! Write a check. Sign up for the silent auction. Contribute to the fund. Are these good gifts? Of course, and easy, too. There’s a catch, though. In order for us to receive the heart-filling, soul stirring emotions of compassion and love for others that are God’s gift to us on this earth, we must give help within the context of relationship to our fellow humans, and to our Father. Hands-on with eye contact and open heart. Caring for one another, for our earth, for all creatures, is our gift to give. No gesture is too small if we are seeking to serve God and not ourselves.
By giving with “relationship,” we do a better job of caring for those in need. Best of all, we are prepared to receive the good and perfect gifts which God provides for us, and a deeper relationship with Him.
I love the Prayer of St. Francis.
“Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.
O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.”
Now, that is relationship!
PRAYER: Lord, enable me to feel the hurts and needs of others, the way you feel mine. Allow me to receive your gifts with an open heart.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: It is in giving that we receive the good and perfect gifts from God.
written by Kathryn Gatlin
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down,
shaken together, running over, will be put in your lap;
for the measure you give you will be the measure you get back.
– Luke 6:38
The Bible is full of spiritual truths that Christians depend on—ways the world just works, when it works. One of those for me is that truth expressed in today’s verse. When we give we receive.
I have noticed that generous people put their faith in this truth. They have open hands and hearts, and their lives are filled with joy. I have also noticed that people who go through life with a clinched fist, hanging tightly onto “what is theirs,” are some of the most miserable people I have known. It is certain that our motivation for giving should not be so that we receive, but so that we respond to needs in the world.
Perhaps what we receive in “good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over” is the joy and contentment so many with generous hearts and spirits seem to have.
A Franciscan Nun, Ilia Delio, said, “God is radically involved with the world, empowering the world toward fullness in love, but God is unable to bring about this fullness without the cooperation of humans.” Sharing our gifts helps bring about that fullness in love. And the truth is that when we share in love, everyone has more than enough. Running over!
PRAYER: Our Father, help us to have the faith and courage to trust your truths, so that we are used by you to bring love, joy and contentment to the world and all have more than enough.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Opening our hands with gifts also opens them to receive God’s blessings.
written by Steve McAlilly
Let us do life together, growing closer to Jesus, and closer to each other, through stories and experiences from the people of our church. Join us as we begin a new series for the Advent season, beginning Tuesday, November 28.