Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "In The Sweet By And By"1 (Lyrics)
Unlike its summer counterpart, I prefer watching the Winter Olympics because snow and ice are great equalizers when it comes down to individual performances. Even the best winter athletes can slip on the ice or fall on the snow, so you never really know who is going to win an event. There also doesn't appear to be as much self-promotion and personal aggrandizement that you now sadly get with the Summer Games. In fact, I stopped watching the Summer Olympics years ago because it was more about good looks, commercial success, and money marketing than the sports themselves.
1 Samuel 16:7b – The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. (NIV)
This verse derives from a special event in the life of the Old Testament prophet Samuel and that of Israel's most famous king, David. Samuel has been sent on a special mission by God to anoint a successor to the failed King Saul. When Samuel sees the sons of Jesse, he initially thinks that the most powerful and strongest among them should become king.
But God intervenes and reminds Samuel that He looks at the heart of man and not his outward appearance when He chooses a person for a special purpose or calling. Samuel should have easily remembered this because he was chosen by God as a lowly child to become a great prophet.
Churches often call upon their members to take up ministries, missions, and tasks for which the individuals may not feel worthy or best-suited. In my own time as a minister, I have seen some people turn down a request or invitation to do something special for the church, simply because they do not feel adequate. But if the calling ultimately comes from God, then He believes that the person can fulfill the task, and He will provide them with the ability and strength to carry out His plan. Feeling unprepared or unworthy shows both integrity and humility, two beautiful qualities that actually delight the Lord, and also enable Him to work with that person to fulfill their calling.
Questions for personal reflection:
Have I been asked to serve the church in a special capacity? How did I respond?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, You call all of us to follow and serve You in our churches and communities. Open our hearts, minds, and lives to do Your bidding, even though we may feel anxious and unworthy about being asked or called. Guide us, and grant us the ability to accept and to do whatever we can for You and Your church. In Your holy name, we pray. Amen.