"This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you." - 2 Corinthians 9:12-14
We all have a tendency to get "used to" that which regularly occurs in our lives.
Call it routine, perhaps.
There are hundreds of examples. Brushing our teeth, getting a weekly assignment done, driving to work. Some might be more significant than others. Saying "I love you" to a significant other, hugging your kids when you get home, going to church on a Sunday morning. We just get used to it all.
Nonprofit staff are totally prone to it, too. For those of us that work for philanthropic organizations, like IDES, regularly witnessing people intentionally serving others becomes mundane. We see it happen almost every day, and it is sometimes easy to miss the depth of what is happening.
"Just another clean-water well drilled for a poor remote village, just another day," or, "It's just a 'normal' packing event this week, only 10,000 meals for the hungry." What?!
There is nothing routine about the occurrence in which groups of broken human beings, whether small or large, intentionally gather together in the name of a greater cause (or most often in IDES' case, in the name of Jesus Christ) to serve a separate group of broken human beings whom the first group may never come into contact with.
Personally, I believe it's a miracle--every single time it happens. Think about it.
There are over 7 billion people living on this planet. All of them are broken and sinful (including ourselves). Many of them are not followers of Jesus. Many more--in fact the majority, I would say--don't care too much about the livelihood or well-being of other humans than themselves.
Then there's this group of certain humans that has decided to do something different, something truly good--something for someone other than themselves. When you consider the probability statistics of this occurring based upon the world's population, that's a miracle.
Serving others is a unique privilege given to us by God Himself to participate in the restoration and redemption of the earth.
For goodness' sake--it might be a miracle that God even considers us worthy to join with Him in this kind of beautiful work!
According to the passage of Scripture above, the miracle of service doesn't stop with the statistical probability. It actually creates more miracles.
Miracles of generosity and provision, miracles of praise and thanksgiving, miracles of new faith, miracles of prayers being offered on behalf of others, miracles of togetherness and unity, miracles of this so-called "surpassing grace." The beauty of the chain-reaction that this passage promises is overwhelming.
I pray that myself and my fellow staff-members at IDES may never take the service of others that we regularly witness for granted.
Serving others, especially doing so as a group, is a miracle.
My challenge for you this week is to meditate upon the passage above from 2 Corinthians, and find a way to serve someone else--participate in this chain reaction of miracles. Then, try to identify one thing in your life that you have allowed to become a mundane "routine," and find a way to acknowledge or appreciate it.
Odds are, "it" might just be a miracle, too.
-written by Chase Cotten, Media Director @ IDES