After the Israelites pulled off an upset victory over the Philistines, the prophet Samuel built an altar and named it Ebenezer, signifying that the Lord had helped them up to that point. The altar was a way of saying to the people, “The God who did it before can do it again.”
We all need Ebenezers. Reminders that the God who got us here will get us there. That the God who did this will do that. An Ebenezer is a way of recognizing and celebrating the success God has given us along the way in pursuing our dream.
You’ve got to celebrate those milestones by building altars. Then you’ve got to surround yourself with those life symbols so you don’t forget what God wants you to remember.
I don’t believe that our greatest shortcoming is not feeling bad enough about what we’ve done wrong. I think our greatest shortcoming is not feeling good enough about what God has done right. When we under-celebrate, we fall short of the glory of God.
Taken from the book – Chase the Lion – Mark Batterson
Years ago, there was a TV program called the A-Team. The A-Team was always portrayed as acting on the side of good and helping the oppressed. Their leader, Colonel “Hannibal” Smith, used plans that tended to be unorthodox but effective. When his plan came all together, he always used this quote; I love it when a plan comes all together.”
When someone gives their life to Jesus Christ, they are often told that God has a plan for their life. Jeremiah 29:11. And that is true. As I reflected on my life, I was amazed how God’s plan came about, how He brought it “all together.”
I was a young man from Pennsylvania, who served half-way around the world in Vietnam. I returned state side and was sent to Fort Benning, Georgia, where I met a girl from South Carolina. We were married 46 years ago and have six grandchildren.
God later called me to serve Him as a pastor. I have served and lived in several states where I was privileged to minister to some wonderful people. I have seen places and met people that I never dreamed of but God did. I could never have worked out a plan such as God’s plan for my life.
The amazing thing is that God has a plan for everyone of us. He has personally designed a plan for you! One of the most important things you can while on planet earth is to discover and follow God’s plan and purpose for your life. Have you found it?
You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed. Psalm 139:16
[Thanks to Pastor Carey Pratt who provided the basis for this blog.]
In John 13, we have the interesting story of Jesus’ washing the disciple’s feet. The background is that it was the custom for those hosting a dinner to see that the guests feet were washed before the meal. Remember that people wore sandals not shoes as this time and their feet could become very dirty from walking the unpaved roads of Jesus’ day. It was the
responsibility to see that a slave (or servant) washed the guests feet but for some reason there was none present.
No one, except Jesus, wanted to assume the responsibility of serving others. After Jesus washed their feet he said, “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” The example Jesus spoke of was not the act of washing feet but an example of responsibility to serve others.
Not less than twenty-four hours, we find another person using a basin. But this time, it is not the basin of responsibility but to wash his hands FROM his responsibility. Pilate tried to release Jesus but the mob would not allow that. So, “When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!” He had the responsibility to see justice was carried out.
From these two accounts, that appears only two options for the true Christ-follower. Take up the basin of responsibility or refuse the responsibility of serving others.
“God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.” 1 Peter 4:10
Throughout the New Testament you will find many verses that speak about “_____one another,” The church has lost its passion to love, serve, and help others. When I lived in Syracuse, NY, there was a very “unique” couple, Larry and Lilian Zufelt who attended our church. Larry was one of the hardest working men I ever knew. He was also a devout follower of Jesus Christ.
The Zufelts lived some distance from the church but they never missed a service even during a severe New York snowstorm. Now the story I am about to share is true and should not be attempted. Though Larry had a driver’s license, he eyesight was poor. He wore the thickest glasses I have ever seen. Lilian however had great eyesight but no driver’s license.
So they decided to serve-one-another by “team driving.” (This was before seat belt laws,) Lilian would sit up close to Larry. Larry would operate the accelerator and brake, while Lilian would steer that old pickup all the way to church. To my knowledge they never had an accident.
I remember hearing about an elementary teacher who had asked her class that age old question; “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Each student came to the front of the class and gave the standard answers – ” I want to be a nurse… A policeman… jet pilot… famous athlete.
Every student had shared their dream; all except Billy. The teacher hesitated on calling Billy because he was not your typical student. He was often loud and disruptive . Reluctantly she had Billy go to the front to share his ambition.
Billy shocked everyone when he said, “When I grow up, I want to lead a blind man.” You could have heard a pin drop. After all, who wants to grow up and serve others? I’ve never heard anyone say their life’s goal was serving others. And yet that is exactly why Jesus Christ came. Matthew 20:28 says that Jesus did not come to be served but rather He came to serve others. The Bible tells us that we are to “…. grow up in Him (Jesus). Since Jesus was the greatest servant and since we are to be like Him; then it stands to reason that we should strive to serve others.
People spend their entire lives climbing the ladder of success, only to find it is leaning on the wrong wall. We strive for the corner office. We want the prestigious parking place, and the key to the executive restroom. Always searching for significance.
“I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.” — Albert Schweitzer.