Active Helpfulness - Lent with Bonhoeffer Day 28– Purity 1000
Purity 1000 03/25/2023 Purity 1000 Podcast
Purity 1000 on YouTube: Coming Soon!
Today’s photo of the Northern Lights over Lake Ontario comes to us from SUNY Oswego student meteorologist, Tommy Cerra, who captured this heavenly scene on Thursday evening and was kind enough to share it with the school who passed it along to all of us on Facebook. (https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=585347503626557&set=pcb.585347573626550) As a proud alumni of SUNY Oswego, I wish Mr. Cerra Al Roker levels of success, and give him my thanks for capturing a wonder that I never had the pleasure to experience during my days at the college on the lake and sharing it for all to see.
Well, it is Saturday and just like Mr. Cerra felt that he couldn’t keep the amazing thing he saw to himself, I too feel that part of my purpose is to share the hope and the beauty of the new life that we can all find when we put our faith in Christ and decide to actually follow Him too. And today is a milestone of sorts in that purpose for me as today’s “Purity” message is the 1,000th encouraging word that I have shared. If you would like to see that first message that is on the blog as well today: https://www.mt4christ.org/2023/03/the-sexual-purity-encouraging-text-that.html
But since I did that time is short, so let’s celebrate the 1,000th encouraging word, by continuing our current series as we enter into the 28th day of Lent and Day 28 of the 40 Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
As a reminder, and as we will say each day of this journey, we take this path to mark the season of Lent and to draw closer to God in anticipation of the celebration of Easter, knowing that if we take this journey of repentance seriously, we will not only see the days and seasons change, the Lord will use it to change us too.
You can sign up to get this devotional yourself by going to the Biblegateway link on the blog ((https://www.biblegateway.com/devotionals/40-Day-Journey-Dietrich-Bonhoeffer/today)) .
“The other service one should perform for another person in a Christian community is active helpfulness.
To begin with, we have in mind simple assistance in minor, external matters. There are many such things wherever people live together.
Nobody is too good for the lowest service.
Those who worry about the loss of time entailed by such small, external acts of helpfulness are usually taking their own work too seriously.
We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God, who will thwart our plans and frustrate our ways time and again, even daily, by sending people across our path with their demands and requests.”
“The greatest among you will be your servant.” Matthew 23:11
Questions to Ponder
- What are the forms “active helpfulness” might take in a community of faith?
M.T. Clark: One of the things I stress when I encourage or disciple Christians is that as “servants” sent by God to share the good news of Jesus Christ, we should also actually serve people and be known as people who solve problems. We are to be actively helpful. The way we can do that in a community of faith is by serving in the church, volunteering to active ministries in that body, and by lending a helping hand to people in and out of our faith community. While we are not saved or approved by God by our works, after we receive our salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, we really are called to “DO SOMETHING” – to walk into the “good works that God has prepared for us.” So be active in helping others, and also solving the problems in your own life so you can be available to help others with the problems in theirs.
- Is it true that: “Nobody is too good for the lowest service”? Why, or why not?
M.T. Clark: Yes, it is true that nobody is too good for the lowest service. As Christians, we are wretched sinners that were made saints through faith alone. That should humble us and make us grateful to do service for God’s kingdom and to accept whatever task, no matter how lowly, that we are asked to do. Doing lowly works in itself can be a good practice in humility and so doing things “beneath us” can actually benefit us as we are to not think of ourselves more than we should.
- How does taking their own work too seriously tempt people to undervalue the real needs of others?
M.T. Clark: Work is a double edge sword. As much as it can be used to give God glory it can also cause us to be prideful! Most of our work on this earth will fade away with time. The only work that truly matters is the work we do for God. So our “really important” work that we do to support ourselves or expand our careers might not be as important as we think. Our being too busy or “working hard” can make us “unavailable” to help others and thus our pride in our work could cause us to undervalue the needs of others. We have to be aware of our prideful tendencies and try to have a balance in our life where we can support ourselves and thrive but also be available to walk into those helpful works that would give God glory.
For he [the ruler] delivers the needy when they call,
the poor and those who have no helper.
He has pity on the weak and the needy,
and saves the lives of the needy.
From oppression and violence he redeems their life;
and precious is their blood in his sight. Psalm 72:12-14
- Reflect on specific instances in which you were “interrupted by God” in the form of someone in need of help who crossed your path. What did you do? How did you feel about it?
M.T. Clark: I remembered one instance at work where I had a job that turned out to be the “customer’s problem”, meaning that their issue went beyond my company’s responsibility and technically I didn’t have to help them with their problem. I could just walk away and be totally in “the right”. But the customer was elderly and the solution to their problem seemed to be a burden they would not be able to bear because of their financial situation and their physical and mental capacities. So I believe the Holy Spirit compelled me to “do what it is right” and so I went above and beyond what was technically my responsibilities to help this person and alleviate their problem. It felt good to do this and I have done this for more than one customer as the Holy Spirit seems to really compels me to do “what is right” all the time now!
- Write about your degree of willingness to be “interrupted by God.”
M.T. Clark: OOOF! My “degree of willingness” could use some work! Part of me still doesn’t like to volunteer thing for anything, but that part doesn’t stand a chance if the Holy Spirit puts a word in. So yeah, I will hem and haw and try to avoid helping people initially but then I find myself turning around and helping them anyway because the leading of the Holy Spirit springs me into action because I know if I don’t answer the call I won’t have peace. So, I “do what its right”, and have become a little more willing in that regard but could be a little more help in being “actively helpful”.
- What might the “lowest service” be in your community of faith?
M.T. Clark: That’s a matter of opinion. What one man would think of being lowly service can be someone else’s delight. Some could think that any of the tasks in the community of faith could be low service. Grounds keeping, children ministry, recovery ministry, hospitality, or ushering could all be seen to be “beneath us” by some but that is why God made the body of Christ – to have people with individual talents and dispositions to meet all the functions of the body. And as long as the service we do brings glory to God, there really is no “lowest service”
Prayer for Today
Lord, as I go about my business today, don’t hesitate to interrupt me, and give me the grace to notice the interruption.
In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
(40-Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Copyright © 2007 Augsburg Books, imprint of Augsburg Fortress.)
***As we are being provided with Bible verses from the 40 Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer, we will are taking a break from sharing a verse of the day from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”. We plan on resuming that normal installment of the blog following Easter.***
As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.
Today we continue sharing from A.W. Pink’s “The Sovereignty of God.”
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase A.W. Pink’s books for your own private study and to support his work. This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.
THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD
By ARTHUR W. PINK
DIFFICULTIES AND OBJECTIONS continues
In 2 Peter 2:5 we read of “the world of the ungodly.” If then, there is a world of the ungodly there must also be a world of the godly. It is the latter who are in view in the passages we shall now briefly consider. “For the bread of God is He which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world” (John 6:33). Now mark it well, Christ did not say, “offereth life unto the world,” but “giveth.” What is the difference between the two terms? This: a thing which is “offered” may be refused, but a thing “given,” necessarily implies its acceptance. If it is not accepted it is not “given,” it is simply proferred. Here, then, is a scripture that positively states Christ giveth life (spiritual, eternal life) “unto the world.” Now He does not give eternal life to the “world of the ungodly” for they will not have it, they do not want it. Hence, we are obliged to understand the reference in John 6:33 as being to “the world of the godly,” i.e., God’s own people.
One more: in 2 Cor. 5:19 we read “To wit that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself.” What is meant by this is clearly defined in the words immediately following, “not imputing their trespasses unto them.” Here again “the world” cannot mean “the world of the ungodly,” for their “trespasses” are “imputed” to them, as the judgment of the Great White Throne will yet show. But 2 Cor. 5:19 plainly teaches there is a “world” which are “reconciled,” reconciled unto God because their trespasses are not reckoned to their account, having been borne by their Substitute. Who then are they? Only one answer is fairly possible—the world of God’s people!
In like manner, the “world” in John 3:16 must, in the final analysis, refer to the world of God’s people. Must we say, for there is no other alternative solution. It cannot mean the whole human race, for one half of the race was already in hell when Christ came to earth. It is unfair to insist that it means every human being now living, for every other passage in the New Testament where God’s love is mentioned limits it to His own people—search and see! The objects of God’s love in John 3:16 are precisely the same as the objects of Christ’s love in John 13:1: “Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His time was come, that He should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end.” We may admit that our interpretation of John 3:16 is no novel one invented by us, but one almost uniformly given by the Reformers and Puritans, and many others since then.
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“The views, opinions, and commentary of this publication are those of the author, M.T. Clark, only, and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of any of the photographers, artists, ministries, or other authors of the other works that may be included in this publication, and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of any entities the author may represent.”
Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship
 Arthur W. Pink, The Sovereignty of God (Swengel, PA: Bible Truth Depot, 1949), 214–215.