In January 2006 I wrote a friend, “Until this time I have been smugly happy in my own conceits about my place and part in God's family. Lately, though, I have been pondering the words of John: ‘He came unto his own and his own received him not.’ And I wonder how often I have been unreceptive of Him?”
I thought for years I was as close to Jesus as I could be. I thought I possessed all I needed of Christ. Then Rich’s conversion to Roman Catholicism sent my soul on a desperate journey to reconnect with my commitment to Jesus. As I prayed over how I would follow Him at our Catholic church, I discovered (much to my surprise) my once Christ-centered life had become complacent and stagnant. My sense of contentment was the result of years of rote practice, and the loss of a lively joy in my first love -- Christ. I needed renewal, and Jesus, whose compassion is boundless, revived in me a deep spiritual passion, even while I fussed at Him about the method.
The Lord would not let me languish long in the nether-world of status quo. He knew I needed love that was like living water springing up into new life, and He shook up my world for my good and His purposes.
The Holy Spirit poured Christ’s love into my soul, and like cold water on a hot frying pan, love exploded into my life. His gracious gift of Spiritual communion had created in me a desire to know Christ better. That desire grew stronger each day until suddenly in one moment of clarity I became converted to Jesus’ agenda.
That moment came on a sunny afternoon as I listened to a radio program discussing the servant-hood of the believer. As I listened, my soul stirred, and I remembered a worship song by Kelly Willard entitled “The Servant.” Years before, that song so resonated with my spirit that I had found myself singing it at all hours of the day and night. It became my constant prayer to the Lord. Here is one of the verses:
“Make me a servant, humble and meek
Lord, let me lift up, those who are weak.
And may the prayer of my heart always be;
Make me a servant, make me a servant,
Make me a servant, today.”
At the time, I wondered why I was prompted to pray those words over and over.
But now, several years later, as I listened to the radio discussion on servant-hood, I realized the Lord had answered the desire He placed into my heart years before--- the desire to be a servant.
To think the Holy Spirit had put that song in my mouth so many years earlier, and that He had schooled my heart to plead for servant-hood, energized my desire to agree with what Christ purposed to do with my life.
I did not realize until then that I had been offered a wonderful opportunity.
At last the heartache and heartburn of being separated at Communion seemed to have a purpose. No longer was I only obeying the Catholic Church’s rules of communion concerning non-Catholics. I perceived that I could live out the scripture by expressing love that is patient, love that seeks not its own, is not provoked, and does not take into account a wrong suffered. I realized, too, it was no accident that I received a blessing in place of communion. There was a reason I was a Protestant living and worshiping side by side with my Catholic husband.
The Lord was granting me an opportunity to learn humility and love.
More encouraging verses flowed into my heart that January afternoon. The sadness of being a non-communicant gave way to the privilege of following Christ’s example of servant-hood. St. Paul wrote to the Philippians:
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.
Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2: 3-8 NASB)
It was not lost on me that, for the most part, the only others who came forward for a blessing were those too young to receive the Eucharist; and I marveled that the Lord placed me in such a position. Nor, was it lost to me what Jesus had once said about permitting children to come to Him – “for such is the kingdom of heaven.”
Like children, I could come, not demanding a place at His table, but to lay my anguished heart at His feet, and receive the various blessings He gives,for it is Jesus and Jesus alone who imparts blessing.
The honor to be like our Master in some small way is the joy of all the redeemed. I thank you Jesus, for this opportunity and the lessons in humility.
An Exhortation - Each week I fellowship with a two different groups of men –all of us part of the laity of our church – and who clearly love the Lord. Each week we use our...
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