Being a servant

I look at my recent posts and I’m surprised, and not surprised, that I’ve posted about once a week. What is that?! Usually I have a lot more to say.

But as it stands, I’ve been learning a big lesson on how to be a servant. I can thank my current job for that.

I know I’ve been called to my job right now for a reason. I know positive changes are being made. But the only way to gain real respect and trust is to be a servant. I try to compliment “my” teachers (I say “my”, since I’m kind of a boss… or something.) If someone shows frustration, I try to get to the bottom of it and fix the problem.

Pastor Lee’s sermons recently from The Sermon on the Mount really have me thinking about what it’s like to be a servant.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Matthew 5:9

As a peacemaker, amateur as I may be, I’m supposed to be bringing God’s peace into situations, and living it out in my life. I should not sacrifice integrity for peacemaking, but I think I’m good at not doing that. I’m the kind of person where if I know I’ve wronged someone, or even think I might have wronged someone, I have to make it right otherwise I can’t sleep at night. (I didn’t always used to be like this! Ask my family…)

At work I’ve really been focusing on having a good attitude, not getting stressed over anything, even if it’s big, and being consistent. I think the last thing there is key to gaining respect… being consistent. People can then see my commitment, that I’m all in.

I’m not going to lie to you and tell you I was jumping up and down when I was offered this promotion. In fact, my heart sank. But I know I’m there for a reason, and slowly things are improving. I’m so thankful to have the opportunity to use my God-given gift of teaching… I have been dealing quite a lot with educational issues. I’ve also been able to continue teaching some students. And I can guarantee you that when I have my own classroom again, I won’t be nervous to talk to parents!

On a different note, if you want your faith to be stretched, your soul to be refined, or you want to learn how to be a servant… get married. Aaron and I have been doing very well lately with communication. In the midst of things happening in marriages around us, we are thankful for what we have. Couple that with being apart for two years (five total in our relationship) and you have a strong bond! I get emotional with him, he gets impatient with me, but we work through it and talk it out. Communicating our fears and weaknesses is one of the hardest things to do, I think.

And I don’t mean that when you get married you become that person’s slave. You serve them with your attitude, your listening abilities, your willingness to work through things, your blatant refusal to be selfish. If you want to add in some dishes or laundry, you can do that too. 🙂 In a true relationship of mutual servanthood, it won’t go unnoticed.

It will flood into other areas of your life, too. Before you know it, you’re being a servant to your friends and family… by praying for them, listening to them, offering a shoulder to cry on or a sounding board for venting… it’s pretty cool how it all works out!

I just love the Beatitudes… (and I did not know this but Wikipedia taught me that “Beatitudes” comes from the Latin adjective beatus which means blissful, happy, or fortunate.)

Matthew 5

 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, 
   for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 
4 Blessed are those who mourn, 
   for they will be comforted. 
5 Blessed are the meek, 
   for they will inherit the earth. 
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, 
   for they will be filled. 
7 Blessed are the merciful, 
   for they will be shown mercy. 
8 Blessed are the pure in heart, 
   for they will see God. 
9 Blessed are the peacemakers, 
   for they will be called children of God. 
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, 
   for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 

12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven,

for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Gospel Challenge: Matthew 5-6, Jesus’ teachings

Wow! I am blown away by all the teachings of Jesus in Matthew 5 and 6. We truly could live on His words alone, as He fulfills the Old Testament and Law. One thing that I didn’t really realize before is how concise Jesus is in His teaching… a take-it-or-leave-it sort of thing.

Matthew

5 Jesus spoke to His disciples: blessed are the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, those who seek righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, peacemakers, the persecuted

5:13-16 As salt and light, we can bring out the best in others, just as seasonings bring out the best in food. Our light should illuminate the goodness of God.

5:17 Jesus has come to fulfill the law and the prophets.. there is no need for ceremonial law because it is no longer necessary to sacrifice animals, etc, because Jesus came as the Ultimate Sacrifice. However, Jesus did follow completely the moral law.

5:21 We are subject to judgment if we hate our brother — we should reconcile with him and bring our sacrifice to the alttar

5:27 If you look at someone with lust, you have already committed adultery in your heart.

5:37 Be honest: Let your “yes” be “yes” and your “no” be “no”.. keep your word.

5:38 Do not retaliate — turn the other cheek. If someone sues you for your shirt, give him also your coat.

5:43 Love your enemies and pray for your persecutors. “If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?” Even the pagans do that…

6:1 Don’t parade around when you give to the needy; be humble.

6:6 Pray in secret, not standing in the streets in order to look righteous; be humble.

6:9-13 the Lord’s Prayer — simple, sincere, and succinct.

6:14 Forgive men as the Father would forgive them so that you may also be forgiven.

6:16 Do not make a public declaration of fasting; be humble.

6:21 “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

6:22 Keep your eyes clean.

6:24 “You cannot serve both God and Money.” We must choose a master.

6:25-33 Do not worry about money, or food, or clothes — pagans run after those things. Seek first His kingdom.

6:34 Tomorrow will worry about itself.

Gospel Challenge: Matthew 1-4

Like I mentioned in a previous post, I said I was going to take the challenge from our pastor to read through the Gospels. I don’t know if it was a formal challenge, but it sounded like a good idea… I’ve heard most of these stories in some form or another my whole life (remember those felt boards with the paper Bible characters??) and I feel like I need a fresh and more objective perspective.

So… starting with Matthew (and I’m primarily reading from the New American Standard Bible), I’m just going to put down the chapter and verse and an observation. Posting this on my blog also makes me be accountable for actually, ya know, reading the Bible. I want to live like Jesus really wants us to, not by some contrived doctrine, customs, or rules that were made up by men (not saying all traditions/expectations are wrong.. just wanting to get to the source). Maybe I’ll add some commentary later. For now, I just want to ponder.

Feel free to discuss!

Matthew

1:18 Joseph was obedient and took Mary as his wife even though she was already found to be with child.

3:8 John the Baptist spoke to the Pharisees and Sadducees, “Therefore bring forth fruit in keeping with repentance.” In verse 10, he goes on to say, “And the axe is already laid at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”

3:11 John baptized with water for repentance, but Jesus baptizes with Holy Spirit and fire.

4:7 In temptation, the devil even knew Scripture, but Jesus knew more.

4:10 The devil left Him when He rebuked Him with Scripture.

4:13 Jesus did not begin preaching in His hometown (He left Nazareth and settled in Capernaum).

4:18 He called ordinary but obedient people to be His disciples.

4:23 He preached the Gospel and healed every disease and sickness.