Day 3: Participation
“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen." 1 Peter 4:10-11
WHAT WE SEE IN THE FILM: As Jesus continues to carry His cross to Golgotha, a Roman soldiers seizes Simon of Cyrene and makes him carry Jesus’ cross. Simon probably thought he knew his purpose, to be one of thousands of Jews who visited Jerusalem during Passover, but instead God intervened and had a completely different task for him. Simon was “pressed to participate” and he was forced to carry the cross of another man who was to die for him.
Veronica on the other hand, was sympathetic and emotionally moved by Jesus, “willing to participate” by grabbing a cloth and going to wipe His face. She could’ve stood on the side and watched, like many of the others, but instead she decided to step in and humbly serve Jesus.
PURSUE THE PASSION: Participation is the only option. Stepping in to what God is calling us to do. If we do not participate, we will never find our purpose. You’ve heard the phrase, “Life is not a spectator sport.” By participating, God can work in and through us. Participation comes in two ways, “willing to participate” or “pressed to participate.” Even when you do not desire to serve but you do, you may find it’s not about what you are doing, but what you are receiving through serving others. Just like Simon, he may have helped to carry Jesus’ cross but Jesus was going to die for him.
WHAT WE LEARN FROM JESUS:
- Participate in other people’s lives. Getting involved in other’s lives allows us to get over ourselves, to get out of our mess, and help someone else. Sometimes we will be pressed into these relationships and sometimes it will happen willingly. But as Christ followers we are called to serve others.
- Be ready. We may be on a path that doesn't seem right or look the way we think it should. But we just need to be willing, to say yes to His plan. It could very well be the thing we think is the "distraction" that God meant us to do all along. As it says in Proverbs: 19:21 NIV, "many are the plans in a person's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails."
- Be willing to receive. Could Jesus have done everything alone? Of course, He’s the So:n of God. He didn’t need the disciples, someone to carry His cross or even wipe His brow. But Jesus knew how to receive. He knew that letting others participate in His life would grow them in their faith.
- Don’t let the fear of failure keep you from participating. Stop thinking you can’t or you don’t have the skills or strength to serve God’s people. If He appoints you, He will anoint you. Time and time again it’s about just saying “Yes” to his call to step out and serve. You see, we don’t see the big picture but He does. We don’t always see how our serving others might be their only connection to Christ, but He does.
- Who would you have been, given the opportunity to help Jesus, Simon of Cyrene, “pressed” to participate by the Romans, or Veronica, “willing” to participate? Ultimately both Simon and Veronica were blessed because they served Jesus.
- Serving Jesus will be tough at times thanks to the pressures of the world which may not understand what you are called to do, but remember, serving Christ means serving His people. There will be times we must pick up our cross and there will times we will help someone carry theirs. When it comes to serving Jesus are you “pressed” or “willing” to serve Him?
- Share about a recent time you have used your gift to serve someone else?
Pursue Participation.Have you been feeling like you need to serve? Maybe at the church, or an outreach or maybe mentoring someone? Today is the day to step out in faith. If you’ve been called, He will equip you. Prepare yourself for the blessing, when you serve others, you are serving Christ and Christ is serving you. It is a win-win situation.