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For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
(2 Timothy 4:6-7)
Writer’s note: Due to a technological issue, the text of today’s meditation is a reprinting of “Determined to Serve,” composed by and credited to Oswald Chambers and published in his well-known devotional collection, My Utmost for His Highest. We apologize for the inconvenience, and plan to have this issue resolved tomorrow.
Paul’s idea of service was the same as our Lord’s— “…ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake” (compare Matthew 20:28 and 2 Corinthians 4:5). We somehow have the idea that a person called to the ministry is called to be different and above other people. But according to Jesus Christ, he is called to be a “doormat” for others— called to be their spiritual leader, but never their superior.
Paul said, “I know how to be abased…” (Philippians 4:12). Paul’s idea of service was to pour his life out to the last drop for others. And whether he received praise or blame made no difference. As long as there was one human being who did not know Jesus, Paul felt a debt of service to that person until he did come to know Him. But the chief motivation behind Paul’s service was not love for others but love for his Lord. If our devotion is to the cause of humanity, we will be quickly defeated and broken-hearted, since we will often be confronted with a great deal of ingratitude from other people. But if we are motivated by our love for God, no amount of ingratitude will be able to hinder us from serving one another.
Paul’s understanding of how Christ had dealt with him is the secret behind his determination to serve others. “I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man…” (1 Timothy 1:13). In other words, no matter how badly others may have treated Paul, they could never have treated him with the same degree of spite and hatred with which he had treated Jesus Christ. Once we realize that Jesus has served us even to the depths of our meagerness, our selfishness, and our sin, nothing we encounter from others will be able to exhaust our determination to serve others for His sake.
Conclude Day 20 by reflecting on the following questions, then document your PRAYER conversation for today in light of your answers.
In light of Chamber’s words and our passage of focus for today, what do you think Paul’s admonition to always abound in the work of the Lord looks like in your social environment and culture?
List two or three ways in which you might implement Paul’s instruction into your own life.
Praise and Thanksgiving:
            In your own words, who is God to you personally? What has He done for you specifically
            in the past day or so – especially the little things – that surprised you or drew you
            appreciation?
Repentance:
This one seems obvious, but consider making a deliberate commitment to go
            beyond “I’m sorry” and make a sincere commitment to do your best through Christ
            to lay these sins aside.
Adoration:
            Love Him. Worship Him. And don’t be afraid to do so with hymns or other songs of
            worship…sometimes mere words may not seem adequate to you. That’s ok!
Yielding:
Is there something you need to turn over to God? A circumstance you can’t control?
            Complicated relationship? Your own will that’s struggling with His will?
Expectation:
What are your concerns, your hopes, your dreams for your church? Your family?
Friends? Not-so-much friends? Yourself?
Restoration:
            End your conversation with the firm knowledge that you are God’s and God is yours.
            Affirm your trust in His all-powerful, never-ending presence in your life. Thank Him
            again for what He’s done for you in the past and what He will do for you in the future
            that’s in accordance with His will. This is an important and proactive demonstration of
            your faith in Him.

Copyright 2017 Carole Anne Hallyburton. All rights reserved.