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You’re able, but are you willing?

Often, life seems like a never-ending list of obligations. You might have to bake a cake for your kids’ classroom or coach their T-ball teams. Maybe you have to pick up the slack at work when your coworker is out of town. There are always chores, errands, and to-do lists that keep us from really feeling relaxed.

Baking, coaching — none of these things are bad. However, if our calendars are packed as densely as a can of sardines we can miss opportunities to do what we are called to do — to serve Jesus and His church.

God has us to be shepherds of His people and leaders in the church. Not only does shepherding point people to Jesus, it makes us more like Him.

“Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away” (1 Peter 5:2-4). 

In this letter, Peter tells us that eager and willing service — not a mountain of obligations — is what draws us closer to Jesus. We can’t earn Jesus’ favor by keeping the busiest calendar or  building the biggest bank account. The crown of glory Peter describes is for those who serve others well. 
 
By caring for people outside of our normal circles and learning to give instead of receive, we “lead our flock” and become more like Jesus. Being a leader in the church and doing what God calls us to might mean sacrificing something else on our to-do list. But what we give up in tasks, we gain in joy as we willingly serve God and the people around us.

Reflect: 

  • Think about the people already in your life. Who has God put in your life to shepherd and serve, in and outside of church?
  • What is one thing you might have to give up to do this? 
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your joy in serving others? When is the last time you asked God to increase your willingness and joy in serving His church and caring for people?

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