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Sermon In A Bag


It’s not every day that the local restaurant preaches the sermon to you, but it happened to me just a few weeks ago. It didn’t come through the background music that was playing. There was no Bible verse stenciled on the entrance wall. I don’t even know it to be a Christian owned company. But I do know that as my husband and I met our friends at Chili’s, the sermon was at our table.

After placing my order, I reached to slip my silverware from the brown paper sleeve. I wasn’t looking for it and certainly not expecting it, but there it was. It was not only bold but also loud and I almost felt like I needed to hush it a bit. No one else at the table saw or heard it, but I certainly did.

“We were put Here to Serve.”

The font was extra large and bold, intending to be seen. There below it was a small knife and fork and words of thanks to patrons for giving millions of dollars to St. Jude Children’s Hospital. I’m sure it was an advertising campaign that men and women had spent untold hours around a dream table perfecting.

I smiled running my fingers across the words and carefully ticked it away in my purse. On that December night, it was a sermon in a bag that I greatly needed. In the holiday frenzy of trying to get everything done, I was rushing past people and taking care of me.

The bag reappeared a few days ago and God spoke loud and clear once again. This time it came with a verse I had memorized over 30 years ago.

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve,

and to give his life as a ransom for many." Mark 10:45

Most of our days are spent trying to get our own needs met and our own list accomplished. We especially want our food servers to be kind, quick, and accurate. Well, actually we want perfect service bringing perfect food at just the perfect temperature delivered by a perfect human being. Often times I can’t even recall the face of the one who served me. We don’t give much grace for mistakes when it comes to the way we want our food.

It goes way beyond food and restaurants and marches into our everyday lives. I want to be first and I want to be treated right. More often than we choose to admit, we are selfish to the core.

I don’t usually enjoy service that costs me a lot. Too much money; too much energy; too much time; too much effort. I am prone to choose the most effortless way. I want to get things done quickly and efficiently and I often miss the people that God put me here to serve.

Jesus came simple, plain and ordinary as a brown paper bag, yet He is God. He emptied Himself and gave all that He had. He poured out His life on the table of surrender to serve and save those around Him. Actually, before He ever got to the tabletop, he went down low beneath the table and washed feet.

He always served love to all people. No matter who they were or where they were from, He gave love. This love is incomprehensible and hard to swallow without choking up with gratitude.

We are invited to the table to eat and drink of His lavish love daily. We lick clean the plate of grace. We eat every bite of forgiveness, but are very selfish when it’s time to forgive others. We find our bowl empty, spent, hurried and worried. We quickly excuse ourselves from the table, passing over brokenness, desperation and hunger right in front of us. We belch with selfish satisfaction, forgetting that we too are put here to serve.

Jesus preached the sermon best with no words. He lived serving.

Lord, forgive me for being so self focused, missing hurting people all around me. Give me your heart of love and your eyes that see and care. Give me a desire to serve others with your love. Pick me up as a utensil in your hand and feed a hungry, hurting world around me every day.

Feed the hungry. Heal the sick. Love the broken. Encourage the weary.

I am yours, Lord. Use Me!

“You Put Me Here to Serve.”

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