Grow Deep - Christian Community Edition - Week 4

Week 4: September 29-October 5

Ministry: Providing for Each Other

Memory verse: “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of Mine, you did for Me.’” Matthew 25:40

Ministry is messy. It all sounds so good on paper: Love your neighbor as yourself. Give to the needy. Do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God. But…then we complicate things. Who exactly is my neighbor? Just how much should I give, and will it be used appropriately? How does the call to serve fit in with my other roles as a spouse, parent, friend, worker? Isn’t ministry the job of professional church workers?

I’ve been taught many truths about ministry and service: Everything I have is God’s, and I’m just the manager of these gifts. How I use those gifts is my gift to God. I can’t out-give God. I don’t have to sell everything and abandon my family to faithfully follow Jesus. I have responsibilities to others—especially other Christians—to provide help and support. This week we look hard at what the Bible says about ministry, service, and giving. Through it all, we are reminded of what God does for us!

What is required is for each of us to imitate Christ. Jesus was a radical kind of servant! He willingly gave up His infinite power, glory, and, ultimately, His life. He served and loved the least of us, the worst of us, the best of us. He taught His disciples (us!) to do the same. We see examples of the Israelites and the early Christians practicing radical service. This week, ask God to open your eyes and heart to opportunities to minister and show His love to others like Jesus’ love for us!

Sunday, September 29
Read: Matthew 20:20-28
Jesus tells us that discipleship isn’t about power and prestige. It’s about being a servant.
Reflect: How often are you the first to do something lowly or unappreciated? It is countercultural and can be frustrating and sacrificial, but that’s what Jesus calls us to do! Who are you a “slave” to? How can you be a servant today?

 

Monday, September 30
Read: Acts 4:32-35
In the early church, the believers shared their possessions and there was “no needy person among them.”
Reflect: Can you imagine selling your house and sharing the proceeds with church friends? Or with people you don’t even know? What role do your possessions have in ministry? We “can’t take them with us,” so how is the Lord calling us to use our possessions now? Other than money and possessions, what other resources might you be called to share?

 

Tuesday, October 1
Read: 1 Corinthians 10:31-11:1
Believers are reminded to make choices that glorify God and do not cause others, who might believe differently, to stumble.
Reflect: We have freedom to act not for self-indulgence but for ministry and as a servant who appreciates the gifts the Master gives! How can you make honoring God one of your guiding principles? Make a list of ways you can imitate Christ in each of your roles this week.

 

Wednesday, October 2
Read: Acts 6:1-4
The disciples delegate some responsibilities so that needs can be met and they can focus on other responsibilities.
Reflect: What are your spiritual gifts (everyone has at least one!)? (Again, check out 1 Corinthians 12:4-10 or Romans 12:6-8 for more on spiritual gifts.) How can you step up and use your gifts to support others in ministry?

 

Thursday, October 3
Read: John 13:1-17
Jesus models servanthood and humility by performing a lowly task—foot washing.
Reflect: What does “foot washing” look like in our context? Who have you seen “washing feet”? How can you move through the world serving God, serving each other, and serving all people?

 

Friday, October 4
Read: Deuteronomy 15:1-11
The children of Israel are instructed to forgive debts every seven years, to give everyone a fresh start, and not to judge the poor or be slow to lend.
Reflect: These verses provide radical ideas—from God Himself. How could you apply this kind of radical generosity today? Can you out-give God?

 

Saturday, October 5
Read: Philippians 2:1-11
Paul encourages unity in the church based on humility and looking out for the interests of other. Our attitude should be the same as Christ’s. He was opposed by almost everyone in positions of authority and respect, yet He humbled Himself and died a cruel death for people who hated Him—because He loved them.
Reflect: What excuses do we use to not participate in ministry? Say a prayer of thanksgiving for the sacrifice Jesus made for you, and ask God to maintain Jesus’ mindset in you so you can minister to your neighbor today!