Beyond Sunday - Week 24

Beyond Sunday
Week of July 7, 2024,
“Service triumphs over selfishness” 
When in Rome Week 23Romans 15

Thoughts: I would sum up Pastor Troy’s message this way. Unity is essential to the Christian Church and our ability to fulfill our mission of making disciples. Our natural human tendency toward selfishness, or self-absorption, is one of the greatest barriers to that unity. The cure for selfishness is service. Sounds simple enough, but that doesn’t make it easy, does it?

That issue of unity must be a big deal, because it reverberates through much of the Apostle Paul’s writings, and echoes the prayer of Jesus Himself in John 17, where Jesus beseeches His Heavenly Father to bring His twelve apostles, and all believers after them, to complete unity. But breaking through that barrier to unity—selfishness, or self-absorption—is a challenge.

Author Donald Miller, in his book, Blue Like Jazz, asserts that social ills (bigotry, hate, injustice, etc.) are symptoms of the greater disease of self-absorption. Miller writes, “…as a human, I am flawed in that it is difficult for me to consider others before myself. It feels like I have to fight against this force, this current within me that…wants to avoid serious issues and please myself, buy things for myself, feed myself, entertain myself, and all of that.” Does that sound as familiar to you as it does to me?

Miller goes on to conclude that if human beings, “… could fix our self-absorption, we could end a lot of pain in the world.” It has definitely eased my pain, because personally my self-absorption frequently manifests itself as depression. The surest cure for my depression is to serve others. My simplest form of service is prayer. Prayer is a great starting point because I can do it anytime and anywhere. It is amazing how quickly the dark clouds of my depression disappear when I focus on praying for the needs of others.

Wow! That sounds a lot more self-serving than I mean it.

Yes, my own pain can be eased through serving, and I grow through serving. But serving is really about meeting the needs of others, loving them, building them up, discipling them, and building “the body of Christ.” It reminds me of the story of a Christian leader ministering to a young father who struggled against alcoholism and to keep a job. “You need Jesus,” was the core of the minister’s message to him. “What I need is help resisting the temptations,” replied the young father. So, for more than a year the minister discipled this man while he walked him to and from work, past all the taverns along his route. The young father finally came to saving faith and went on to be a sober, loving provider for his family.

I tell that story, and my own, to emphasize that there are many ways to serve that are dependent on the gifts, talents, passions, and resources God gave you. The Apostle Paul, in 1 Corinthians 12, instructs each person to use his gifts “for the common good.” He goes on to teach in Philippians 2 that humbly serving others is one of the most effective ways to imitate Jesus Christ, who submitted to His Heavenly Father’s authority in everything.

Just as Troy commented, our service starts with surrender—surrender of our rights to ourselves, our time, our stuff—to the good and perfect will of God. And as Troy said, “God’s will comes out of God’s Word.” And that is why we do this weekly blog, to help you dive deeper into God’s Word and discover His will for your life.

Read: John 17:20-23, Ephesians 4:1-6;11-13 

• What does that passage from John 17 reveal to you about our triune God? What questions does it raise for you? If you need help finding answers to your questions, consider signing up for the RHC Essentials Class.
• In Ephesians Paul lists some qualities that are essential to unity: humility, patience, gentleness, and forbearance.
o In your own words, describe why each of those qualities is important, and how they contribute to unity within the church.
o Ask the Holy Spirit for opportunities and the power to develop more capacity in each of these qualities.

Read: Romans 12:3-8, 1 Corinthians 12:4-11, Philippians 2:1-4, 1 Peter 4:8-11

• We are given spiritual gifts for a purpose, and we are to use the various gifts according to the character of God and His revealed will, with diligence and cheerfulness. In 1 Corinthians 12:24–25 we are told that “God has put the body [that is, His church] together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.” The ultimate purpose of the gifts is “that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.”
o What are your gifts? If you have never learned what they are, then find out in the RHC Growth Track.
o If you still have questions about your gifts, consider this gifts survey from
o How are you currently using your gifts to serve? What additional or different ways do you think God may be calling you to use your gifts?

Pray: Praise God for His mercy and grace. Thank Him for the gifts He gave you. Pray that God will make clear to you how He wants you to use your gifts for the common good.

Next Steps:

1) Join us for Growth Track to begin serving at Rock Hills Church.
2) The Christian life is all about relationships. We are better together, and healing comes when we gather in a community of others who want to think and act like Jesus. If you are not already in a RHC Small Group, join one today by going to the website or the RHC App.

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