Core scripture: “In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive'” (Acts 20:35).
Message: My seven-year-old awoke at the crack of dawn on Saturday, well before 7:00 am when he can come downstairs. Sipping my coffee and putting my Bible to the side, I quietly told him to go back upstairs and wait 20 minutes until I was finished with my quiet time. He reluctantly obliged, shuffling back up the stairs to his room. I knew exactly what he wanted to do. The kid has been obsessed with origami ninja stars recently. The night before we had tried to create one, following an 8-minute YouTube video, and it proved how clumsy I am with my hands. He was back for round two, and this time he wasn’t going to accept anything less than perfection.
Wrapping up my Romans study, I entered the little guy’s room. We were the only two awake in the house. I flopped down on his bed with my iPad, flipped it open, and found a shorter 4-minute origami ninja star video that we began to follow step-by-step. He held the iPad, pausing it periodically, and I folded the paper in front of me on a hardcover book. The joy on the little guy’s face was priceless as his ninja star was being formed before his very eyes. It looked like he was opening a present on Christmas morning! We got to a point in the video when it became confusing. The dude was tucking triangles into places I didn’t even know existed.
“I have an idea,” I suggested.
“How bout we go get some tape and just tape it together?”
“YEAH!” he literally screamed.
He ran downstairs to retrieve some clear tape, and before we knew it, his origami ninja star was created. The joy on my little guy’s face beamed! He was so proud of his ninja star that he put on his Ninjago shirt, wrapped a jump rope around his waist and shoulder as a makeshift ninja belt, and wrapped a thin blanket around his head, leaving a small hole where he could peer out. My little ninja paraded around the house the entire morning in his new outfit, chucking his star at whomever impeded his path. It was as if he was on top of the world! Nothing could stop him from being the best ninja-in-training that he could be.
I wouldn’t trade that Saturday morning for the world! With his origami creation, he was unconquerable, immortal. And it wouldn’t have happened unless I took the time to sit down with him. To think a little less of myself and give my heart to him. To serve. How many times in my life have I neglected the opportunity to share a moment like that in favor of a selfish pursuit of my own? How many times have I done likewise at work with my students? Have you ever sat at your desk checking e-mail when you could have been helping students on a project? Have you ever graded on completion when your students desired much-needed feedback? Have you ever taken a shortcut only to see it lengthen your time spent?
For the Christian teacher, serving comes naturally. How will you serve your students this week? Maybe you could write an encouraging note to a struggling learner. Maybe you could volunteer to help be the time keeper at a basketball game after school. Maybe you could take your family to see the school play, paying tribute to the students you know on stage. Maybe you could cover a staff member’s supervision duty and expect nothing in return. As for me, I am heading off to a local middle school to speak to their FCA group on Tuesday morning about being thankful no matter what the circumstance. Why? Because I love Jesus and I want to share that love with students outside my building.
What areas of your life has God blessed you with? Whatever it may be, use it to serve. 1 Peter 4:10 says, “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” Jesus Christ, the master of servant leadership, came to earth to do the unthinkable. Matthew 20:28 states, “Even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. How will you give yourself to others this week?
Challenge: Find a way to serve at your school, and do it with the right heart in mind. Not to give yourself a better name but to give glory to God. Live out Matthew 5:16 when it says, “Let your good deeds shine out for all to see so that everyone will praise your Heavenly Father.”
Song application: “Do Something” by Matthew West
If not us, then who
If not me and you
Right now, it’s time for us to do something, yeah
If not now, then when
Will we see an end
To all this pain
Oh, it’s not enough to do nothing
It’s time for us to do something
Cinema application: Watch the movie Fireproof. Caleb, a firefighter and husband who is fighting to save his marriage, is challenged by his father to not divorce his wife. Caleb is given a book called The Love Dare and completes 40 daily devotions to pursue his wife. At the beginning his heart is not in his work, but by the end Caleb realizes the truth that happiness in marriage comes from serving his spouse.
Quote: “No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” (Charles Dickens)
Bible story: Read the story of Zacchaeus the tax collector in Luke 19:1-10. What lesson did Zacchaeus learn the day that Jesus visited his house? What do you think changed his heart?
Prayer: Lord, let my heart pour out to others on the job and at home. You modeled servant leadership through your son Jesus. Allow me to be more like Him in how I serve others. Amen.