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Monday, March 7, 2022
Our kitten Gracie appears to be auditioning to be a spokes-pet for Dunkin' Coffee!
(Photo by Ester)
"The Blessing Of Being Useful"
Message summary: How are you being useful to others? Who are some useful people who have blessed you? In what ways might another describe you as being useful in ministry?
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"Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry" (2 Timothy 4:11).
Last Friday morning we made our first chaplain visit at JK Mechanical, a company that has a plumbing department, where we were invited to witness a rather unusual presentation. Trevor (pictured) had completed his apprenticeship in plumbing and the previous day made his first solo call. Ken, his manager, along with his trainer, David, acknowledged Trevor's accomplishment with a toilet seat ceremonially placed over his head. He was then asked to walk through the office area where he was lightheartedly congratulated for his accomplishment while wearing the newest fashion statement for his line of work.
I have been visiting with Trevor for several years since he first started as a warehouse associate not long after he completed high school. Now in his mid-twenties it's good to see this young man with an ambition to be useful and plumbing is at the very essence of usefulness!
On a far more serious note, many take plumbing for granted but my plumber friends explain they are on the front-line of public health. If the plumbing stops working, especially in a city we are in trouble really fast. Of course, we consider a sad report out of Ukraine concerning areas that are now without electricity and water. The news this morning said, “People are drinking from puddles in the streets. The shelling destroyed the left bank area of the city, rendering it unsuitable for human life". The desperate plight of the Ukrainians continues to be at the top of our prayer list.
Today we want to consider the blessing of being useful, in the opportunities God gives us. Yesterday in church I saw an elderly man walking through the sanctuary distributing communion cups (the new method since COVID is the hygienic cellophane wrapped bread/juice combo packs with bread that tastes like Styrofoam). He was using a cane for balance and walked about carefully, adding to the effort required in carrying out his voluntary duty. But having today's message already forming in my thoughts I considered how blessed he was to be doing something useful for the Kingdom of God, and how blessed we were to be recipients of his sacrificial service.
2 Timothy is the last letter we have from Paul and in the last chapter he candidly discloses, "My time of departure is near" (2 Timothy 4:6). He makes several requests of his long-time associate Timothy from the practical such as, "Bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas" (v.13a) to the continued quest for growing in knowledge, "and my scrolls, especially the parchments" (13b). This indicates that Paul wanted his tools for study, that he was still eager to learn all that God wanted to teach him, though he knew his time of departure was near.
But today let's consider a very personal request, "Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry" (2 Timothy 4:11). This is likely the same Mark, who at one time had deserted the missionary team and caused a sharp division between Paul and Barnabas (Acts 15:36-41). In that case "second chance" Barnabas proved right and later Mark's relationship with Paul was also restored.
The Precept commentary reminds us that "The life of Mark stands as a testimony to the grace of God, who is ever 'The God of the Second Chance'. Many of God's greatest servants failed miserably at the start of their course, but returned to finish the race in a God-honoring fashion."
In this very personal appeal Paul states concerning Mark, "for he is very useful to me for ministry". What a contrast to Demas mentioned in the previous verse who deserted Paul during this very needy time. Various versions render the word "useful" as "profitable" (KJV) and "helpful" (NIV).
Today there are scores of useful people such as Trevor the plumber, the man distributing communion elements and "second chance" Mark. Genuinely useful people are rarely in the limelight nor do they seek to be.
Whatever your vocation is today consider how your job is a benefit to others. How are you being useful?
And in regard to God's work, useful ... for ministry" whether your involvement in your church or ministry setting is that of a leader, teacher, clerical worker, grounds keeper, janitorial services, maintenance worker, kitchen coordinator, or any of a multitude of other small or larger roles required for a local church/ministry to function, may you also see it foremost as a calling from God and find great joy in being useful for ministry.
How are you being useful to others? Who are some useful people who have blessed you? In what ways might another describe you as being useful in ministry?
Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, when You redeemed us from a life of sin we became a part of Your heavenly kingdom and were enlisted to serve in Your kingdom. We want to be useful to those who walk in truth alongside us. Those You call You also equip not only with knowledge and skills, but also character traits that build up Your kingdom and enhance other's lives for good. Show us how to be a light to the world and a godly example to our brothers and sisters as we come alongside them in service to Your kingdom, seeking to bring You glory and to build others up in the faith. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Use Me" Video Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir
"Thank You Jesus For The Blood" Video Our church worship time ended yesterday with this powerful song following our Communion service that we continue to find ourselves singing aloud or to ourselves this morning. The singer in this youtube version is not identified.
Thank you Jesus for the blood applied
Thank you Jesus, it has washed me white
Thank you Jesus, You have saved my life
Brought me from the darkness into glorious light
We had a beautiful weekend with quite warm temps suitable for a long bike ride along the Conewago rail trail which starts here in Lancaster County near Elizabethtown and runs directly into the Lebanon Valley Rail Trail along an old railroad grade.
This old stone home has a deck built out over a small stream near the Conewago rail trail. I suppose after a few days of rain the owners might just drop a fishing pole over the side of their deck and go fishing for their supper.
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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