During his only inaugural address as the US President, John F. Kennedy issued this challenge to Americans: “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” It was a renewed call for citizens to surrender their lives in sacrifice and service to others. His words especially inspired the sons and daughters of men and women who had served their country in war.
His meaning was clear: What their parents purchased, often with their very lives, must now be protected by peaceful means. An army of volunteers arose to answer that call, and through the decades they have accomplished an immeasurable amount of humanitarian work around the globe.
Centuries earlier, the apostle Paul issued a similar call to Christians in the opening verses of Romans 12. Here he urges us to give our bodies as “living sacrifices” in service to the One who paid with His life for our sins. This spiritual sacrifice must be more than mere words; it must be an investment of our lives in the physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being of others.
Best of all, our serving can be done right where we are.
Father, show me this day the many ways my life can be surrendered to You, and then give me the strength to begin to act.
Don’t always ask Jesus what He can do for you; ask Jesus what you can do for Him.
Many of us suffer from the unbalanced tendency to “be ready” only “out of season.” The season does not refer to time; it refers to us. This verse says, “Preach the Word! Be ready in season and out of season.” In other words, we should “be ready” whether we feel like it or not. If we do only what we feel inclined to do, some of us would never do anything. There are some people who are totally unemployable in the spiritual realm. They are spiritually feeble and weak, and they refuse to do anything unless they are supernaturally inspired. The proof that our relationship is right with God is that we do our best whether we feel inspired or not.
One of the worst traps a Christian worker can fall into is to become obsessed with his own exceptional moments of inspiration. When the Spirit of God gives you a time of inspiration and insight, you tend to say, “Now that I’ve experienced this moment, I will always be like this for God.” No, you will not, and God will make sure of that. Those times are entirely the gift of God. You cannot give them to yourself when you choose. If you say you will only be at your best for God, as during those exceptional times, you actually become an intolerable burden on Him. You will never do anything unless God keeps you consciously aware of His inspiration to you at all times. If you make a god out of your best moments, you will find that God will fade out of your life, never to return until you are obedient in the work He has placed closest to you, and until you have learned not to be obsessed with those exceptional moments He has given you.
by Oswald Chambers