Life’s circumstances may often lead us to ask the following existential questions: Why am I on earth? What is expected of me, what is the purpose of my life, do I have a role to play, a mission to accomplish? …
Let me tell you that God has chosen you and there is a call over your life for missions, as laborers are few. Yes, Beloved, the harvest is great! You may wonder: “Surely the Lord has not called me to be a missionary?” Have you ever wondered whether we might have a misconstrued notion of what the word Service really means?
“And from the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices. Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal. And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second living creature like a calf, the third living creature had a face like a man, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle. The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!” Revelation 4: 5-8
Throughout this article, we will focus on the aspect of the calf using the gospel of Mark as a principal reference. In the latter, Jesus is depicted as a servant.
The calf speaks of service. It is representative of an animal plowing the ground to prepare it for a fruitful harvest. He bears the yoke as a sign of obedience and the burden of souls to be won during a mission trip.
“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11: 29-30
Jesus Christ came to earth to serve and not to be served (Matthew 20 :28). Can you fathom that? The Creator came in the flesh to serve His creature. What an amazing love!
This is what Christ has modeled for us: the gift of self, the spirit of sacrifice, submission, love, sharing… all notions that are so far-fetched from the ideology of the present century, where individualism, selfishness, hatred, the spirit of competition and jealousy prevail.
Throughout the Bible, there is a call to care for our neighbor, to be interested in him, support him, forgive him, pray for him and love him …. (Matthew 22: 36-40).
During his earthly ministry, Jesus never stopped healing nor setting people free. People were rushing towards Him to receive healing either for themselves or their loved ones.
The eagerness of the crowd was so great that the Bible says that all the sick were brought to Him (Mark 1: 32-33; Mark 6: 54-56), and He could by no means hide from them (Mark 7: 24)
He set a man free from unclean spirits in the synagogue (Mark 1: 23-25), another one living in sepulchers (Mark 5:2-8), a young girl whose mother pleaded with Jesus (Mark 7: 25-29) and a dumb child whose father’s faith had been tried (Mark 9: 17-27)
Jesus performed many healing miracles, thus fulfilling the prophecy spoken of by Isaiah: “Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.” (Matthew 8 : 17)
In the majority of the healing miracles, Jesus did interact with the sick.
“But Simon’s wife’s mother lay sick of a fever, and anon they tell him of her. And he came and took her by the hand, and lifted her up; and immediately the fever left her, and she ministered unto them.” Mark 1: 30-31
The word “ministered” from the greek “diakoneo”, means “to be a servant, attendant, domestic, to serve, wait upon, render ministering offices to, to wait at a table and offer food and drink to the guests, of women preparing food, to minister i.e. supply food and necessities of life, to minister , to attend to anything, that may serve another’s interests »
This woman stepped up to the plate and served the Master to show her gratitude towards Him, after He had initially served her.
In another scripture, we can also read the story of a leper:
“And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean” Mark 1: 40-41
According to Leviticus 13, anyone who had symptoms of leprosy would be declared unclean.
“Anyone with such a defiling disease must wear torn clothes, let their hair be unkempt, cover the lower part of their face and cry out, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ As long as they have the disease they remain unclean. They must live alone; they must live outside the camp.” Leviticus 13:45-46
This was unfortunately the dire living conditions of people suffering from leprosy. The purification process had to be followed scrupulously (Leviticus 14).
Therefore, it seems all the more surprising that Jesus would give His hand to a man who had to avoid all contact with others. The love of Jesus Christ breaks every barrier even in this case where the average person would have feared leprosy contamination.
The Bible states that Jesus was “moved with compassion”. From the greek “splagchnizomai”, which means “to be moved in the inward parts, as to one’s bowels, hence to be moved with compassion, have compassion (for the bowels were thought to be the dwelling place of love and pity).
This leper did not say “Please make me clean”, but rather “If you will”, in other words, “You know my daily struggles and pain. You see how much I have been bent out of shape by this disease, and how much I am suffering both physically and psychologically, only You can make a difference. If it is Your will, set me free”
The gospel of Mark also talks of the healing miracle of the blind and the deaf.
“Then they brought to Him one who was deaf and had an impediment in his speech, and they begged Him to put His hand on him. And He took him aside from the multitude, and put His fingers in his ears, and He spat and touched his tongue. Then, looking up to heaven, He sighed, and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” Immediately his ears were opened, and the impediment of his tongue was loosed, and he spoke plainly.” Mark 7:32-35
“Then He came to Bethsaida; and they brought a blind man to Him, and begged Him to touch him. So He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the town. And when He had spit on his eyes and put His hands on him, He asked him if he saw anything. And he looked up and said, “I see men like trees, walking.” Then He put His hands on his eyes again and made him look up. And he was restored and saw everyone clearly. Then He sent him away to his house, saying, “Neither go into the town, nor tell anyone in the town.” Mark 8: 22-25
In both instances, Jesus used His own spit to heal the sick, after moving them away from the crowd. Beyond the authority of Christ, I am also amazed at his closeness to mankind.
It’s not just about the laying on of hands, but rather a stronger and more intimate encounter with Christ.
He used His own spit (representative of the water of the Word) so that we could see, and for the scales to fall off of our eyes so we could proclaim His Holy name.
Jesus did not send the crowd away hungry but also took care of feeding them.
“But He answered and said to them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said to Him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give them something to eat?” But He said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” And when they found out they said, “Five, and two fish.” Then He commanded them to make them all sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in ranks, in hundreds and in fifties. And when He had taken the five loaves and the two fish, He looked up to heaven, blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to His disciples to set before them; and the two fish He divided among them all. So they all ate and were filled. And they took up twelve baskets full of fragments and of the fish. Now those who had eaten the loaves were about five thousand men.” Mark 6: 37-44
“I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now continued with Me three days and have nothing to eat. And if I send them away hungry to their own houses, they will faint on the way; for some of them have come from afar.” Then His disciples answered Him, “How can one satisfy these people with bread here in the wilderness?” He asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” And they said, “Seven.” So He commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground. And He took the seven loaves and gave thanks, broke them and gave them to His disciples to set before them; and they set them before the multitude. They also had a few small fish; and having blessed them, He said to set them also before them. So they ate and were filled, and they took up seven large baskets of leftover fragments. Now those who had eaten were about four thousand. And He sent them away” Mark 8: 2-9
Our God pays close attention to details because He cares for us. The above scriptures are a sounding board for this one:
“Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 7: 9-12
Once again, there is the idea of treating others the way we would like to be treated (Ephesians 5: 29). Therein lies the notion of sacrifice.
More than just physical food, this also speaks of spiritual food. Even though Jesus performed a miracle by multiplying the loaves of bread and fish, we are to understand that it is His Word that brings life and thus multiplication follows suit. Our vow to serve the Lord shall not only have an impact in the present, but also pave the way for future generations. This is the legacy we shall leave them.
“For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, And do not return there, But water the earth, And make it bring forth and bud, That it may give seed to the sower. And bread to the eater, So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:10-11
“Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness” 2 Corinthians 9:10
LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOUR
“If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.” 1 John 4: 201-21
How do you know whether someone loves God or not? Look for the fruit of love in him (Galatians 5:22). Love is a precious asset that needs to be nurtured, not only towards God, but also towards our neighbor. The two are inseparable as they stem from one another.
“Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” Philipians 2: 4
God has given you gifts and talents. Hospitality, the gift of exhortation, and the ability to sing … He did not give you this gift so it would remain wrapped up inside of you. Let us use what He has placed in us. It is not about being proud nor doing things to be seen of men, but rather a matter of giving oneself for the edification of our neighbor.
Why the gift of self? Because service takes time and energy. Let’s be honest, we love staying in our little comfort zone. We have our habits, our way of doing things… And we really enjoy having some time to ourselves to rest. Do you think that Jesus ever took a « break »? His service, His devotion were ever constant. During the day, He cared for souls and at night He was in prayer.
We should bear in mind that Christ gave us a mission: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.” (Matthew 28: 19-20)
He did not say « Go to the nations and take a vacation! Enjoy the sun, get some rest and focus on yourself « . Not at all! Once again, the focus should be on our neighbor. Two action verbs are being used here « make » and « teach », both written in the imperative form.
Let us therefore be efficient. The navel-gazing must stop and may our heart beat in unison with that of our God. May our loins be moved with compassion for the lost and may the body of Christ be built in love and peace.
* “diakeneo”and “diakonos” http://biblehub.com/greek/1249.htm
* “splagchnizomai” http://biblehub.com/greek/4697.htm
For Scriptures: Bible NKJV
Help tools for the English translation: Google translate, www.reverso.com, Thesaurus, Wikipedia (English), www.wordreference.com,http://www.linguee.com