Service & the Out of Context Passage

I’ve been thinking about servanthood lately, probably because I’m getting ready to preach it up about serving.  The preaching schedule usually has at least some influence on my thought life.  For example, in preparation for a series we’re doing on The Beatitudes, I have been thinking about pizza. How are these connected?  You tell me. 

Anyway, I saw a friend quote Romans 15:13 on the Facebook yesterday. 

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Isn’t that great?  I’ll take hope, joy, peace, overflowing power any day!  

The reason Romans 15:13 stood out to me is that it’s the last verse of the text for this Sunday at PFM.  The first 12 verses are all about service —  we who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak,  we should build up our neighbor,  we should serve because Jesus is the servant of all.  Verse 13, is like a little doxology to this long-ish section about giving ourselves away for the sake of others.  In other words, it’s all about emptying ourselves as we serve.  Then, as a result, God’s hope fill us up.  You’ve gotta make space.  

My point is this: if God is offering hope, joy, peace, and overflowing Spirit power, what have we offered to others and, ultimately, to Him?  Could it be that the conduit for these blessings is found in the spiritual act of serving others?  Maybe it is more blessed to give than to receive, because in giving ourselves for Christ, the hope of God becomes more tangible in our own lives.  Maybe we need to empty ourselves so that God can fill us up.  

How can I bring a strength to a weakness around me?  How have my weaknesses been covered up by the strengths of someone else?  Have I truly endeavored to suffer with Christ?  

If God is self-giving, I want to be self-giving, too.  Lord, help me.  Help us. 

About radamdavidson

I'm a husband, dad, and pastor living in Portage, Michigan. I suppose I'm a euphoric melancholy generalist with average skills, experiences, and passions across several intertwined disciplines and hobbies including music, speaking, writing, leadership, ministry, and collecting cultural artifacts from the 1980's -- mostly vintage boomboxes. You can read my blog at www.radamdavidson.com, subscribe to my podcast (RadCast) or friend me on facebook.com/radamdavidson. about.me/radamdavidson
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