Mission Devotional - November 25, 2016

Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, when we begin to compete and compare it makes us the absolute worst version of ourselves; not at all the loving and compassionate people you desire for us to be. Help us, Lord Jesus, to understand what it means to be the least, for only then will we be free to love and care for people the way you made us to. Amen.

Scripture: Luke 9:46-50

Journal: Where and how are you trying to be the greatest? What does it mean for you to heed the words of Jesus and seek to become the least?

Reflection: "Master, we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him because he is not one of us." (NIV) It is amazing how easy it is to get stuck in an us versus them mentality in life; even when it comes to ministry. We are the ones that do it right, whatever it may be. We are the ones who really understand how it is to be done. They cannot be trusted to do it quite as well as we can. How incredibly arrogant we can be at times. And arrogance is not an attractive quality in the kingdom. I don't recall Jesus ever being concerned that the disciples had lost their swagger. No, it was quite the opposite. Whenever they were tempted to walk with a swagger, Jesus brought a little child into the room and encouraged them that the way you become great in the Kingdom of God is to become least.

Us versus them is rarely a fruitful way of seeing anything. Instead of uniting, it divides. Instead of engaging, it separates. Instead of giving dignity, it belittles. Instead of creating compassion, it produces competition. And instead of loving, it criticizes, judges, and condemns. When we become consumed with proving how right we are and how wrong they are, there is little to no possibility of loving interaction or fruitful exchange. Can you imagine what kind of impact we could have on the world if we finally stop needing to be great, and in humility came to see others as greater and most important than ourselves? What a different world it would be; no more hierarchy, no more comparison. We could actually begin to start having genuine, loving dialogue with one another. We would be free to love.

Prayer for the church, for others, for myself

After more than 20 years of church planting in Japan, God led Ron and Amy Barber to a new challenge of equipping the next generation of church planters. Their new ministry at IGSL in the Philippines prepares students for ministry in cross-cultural contexts around the world. Pray today for the Barbers and their work in the Philippines.

Safe Families for Children is an innovative collaboration between area churches, volunteers and child care professionals designed to support at-risk children and parents in need. Pray today for Janet and her leadership for this ministry. For more information, contact Janet Cockrum at jcockrum@bethany.org.

Closing Prayer: Lord Jesus, when you walked this earth we got to see your heart of humility. Your meekness and lowliness confused the arrogant, hindering them from being able to grasp your purpose. Teach me what it means to follow in your steps; to seek the low place rather than the high, the hidden place rather than the seen, and to seek to serve rather than to be served. Amen.