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Tag Archives: serving others

Redefining Greatness in the Eyes of Heaven

The saying “Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder” is attributed to Margaret Hungerford. Using the pen name “the Duchess,” Margaret wrote this expression in one of her Irish proverbs. During his lifetime, King Solomon created over 1000 songs and 3000 proverbs. The purpose of these old wise sayings was to develop a spiritual mindset. Without some sort of transformation, human beings aren’t able to comprehend what’s great in God’s eyes.

But this is not to be so with you; on the contrary, let him who is the greatest among you become like the youngest, and him who is the chief and leader like one who serves. 27 For who is the greater, the one who reclines at table (the master), or the one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am in your midst as One Who serves. 28 And you are those who have remained [throughout] and persevered with Me in My trials; Luke 22:26-28.

Using a sports analogy, talk shows weekly debate who is the G.O,A.T? Whether it’s a cable or radio program, there is something about ascertaining the greatest of all time. Various opinions collide just like the disciples who wanted to prove to Jesus that they were better than everyone else in the room. This sets the stage for Jesus to quickly shift gears from an earthly perspective toward heaven. While God has great things prepared in advance for every believer, Philippians 1:6, the ultimate goal is serving others.

But this is not to be so among you; instead, whoever desires to be great among you must be your servant, 44 And whoever wishes to be most important and first in rank among you must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man came not to have service rendered to Him, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for ([y]instead of) many, Mark 10:43-45.

One thing that makes leaders stand out are those individuals who just don’t say the right thing, but back up their words with action. As Jesus was about to lay down his life on a cross, He likely saw his life flash before his eyes. Similar to flashbacks in a movie, Jesus is reclining at a table with his friends for the last time as a human being. Adrenaline and emotions were likely flowing as they departed this upper room singing hymns. Following Jesus’ resurrection, the first breakfast in John 21:8-11 gave Jesus the opportunity to fully redefine greatness in the eyes of heaven.

by Jay Mankus

Escaping a Head Down Eyes Straight Ahead Mentality

When you work in a building with two thousand people, you are bound to encounter an unpleasant conversation.  If you keep your head up, you might have a flashback of high school as you dodge people in a crowded hallway, with some not paying attention to those around them.  To avoid awkward situations, some may choose to keep their heads down, fixated on what lies ahead.  Unfortunately, this decision will cause individuals to miss out on opportunities to serve others.

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do, James 1:22-25.

The author of the book of James was Jesus’ younger brother.  Since the Bible has an 18 year time gap between Jesus’ bar-mitz-vah and the beginning of his earthly ministry, we don’t know much about their relationship.  However, Mark 3:20-35 unveils a shocking comment from members of Jesus’ family with James a likely unnamed source.  After healing a demon possessed man, Jesus is accused of being mentally ill, using Satanic powers to drive out demons.  This type of judgement comes from a head down, eyes straight ahead mentality.  This mindset prevents individuals from recognizing the power of God at work in the lives of faithful servants.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God, Hebrews 12:1-2.

Part of the passage above written by James serves as a confession.  James was immature, going through the motions without putting the Bible into practice.  At some point, James was convicted of his head down, eyes straight ahead life style.  The author of Hebrews provides the cure for this condition.  Using an analogy of a marathon, this advice encourages believers to run with perseverance, fixing your eyes on Jesus throughout the race called life.  As the Holy Spirit transforms your perspective, the Lord will begin to help you see that distractions are opportunities to serve God.  May this blog inspire you to slow down, look around and see how God can use you to serve others daily.

by Jay Mankus

 

Seeking God First…Maybe Second…Actually Third

Good intentions and reality are two different things.  My daily routine is a good example of this paradox.  My goal to seek God first daily doesn’t always work out as I plan.  Most days God falls out of the top spot, sliding down to second, third or lower.  How I spend or waste time will ultimately reveal where my heart and mind is.

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows, Galatians 6:7.

The apostle Paul was never known to beat around the bush.  Thus, his words serve as a wake up call, putting my own actions on trial.  Despite what the world may believe, God can’t be fooled.  Receiving blessings isn’t automatic.  Rather, what comes around, goes around as individuals reap what they sow.  Therefore, the lower I place God in my priorities, the less I can expect from the Lord in return.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well, Matthew 6:33.

Despite my failure, Jesus did leave a blue print to help people get back on track.  During the Sermon on the Mount, two things must happen before one can achieve God’s favor.  First, serving others, with eternity in mind must come first.  In addition, individuals should hunger and thirst for righteousness, eager to draw closer and closer to God.  Only when these two principles are carried out, will individuals begin to experience daily bread, like manna from heaven entering your life.  Until then, resolve to seek Jesus first.

by Jay Mankus

 

Missing the Mark

During my first year attending Boy Scout Camp, I was introduced to the rifle range.  Although I had uncles who were hunters, I was never exposed to shooting a weapon until high school.  Since I was right handed, I assumed that the same would be true for hitting the target.  Unfortunately, I failed miserably, missing the mark with every shot.  After 2 identical results, the instructor informed me that I was left handed, identifying a dominant left eye.  This was the piece of information I needed to finally start hitting the target on a consistent basis.

In life, another way of expressing missing the mark is to say you have sinned.  Whenever someone makes a mistake, you essentially fail to meet your goal or objective.  These errors can be explained by a careless, clumsy or freakish occurrence.  Sometimes people don’t follow the instructions while others were never trained or told how to do a certain task.  When this happens, citizens need instructors to enter their lives to provide the guidance required to begin hitting the mark, 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

Instead of having a bulls’ eye with point totals for each circle, the target I am referring to is located on a less traveled road, Matthew 7:14.  Once you reach this area, the rules change as described by Jesus, Matthew 16:24-27.

Mark 1: Deny yourself, becoming a servant to others, Matthew 20:27-28.

Mark 2: Keep your eyes on the cross, the symbol of Jesus’ victory over death, 1 Corinthians 15:54-57.

Mark 3: Follow God where the Holy Spirit leads you, John 21:18.

Once you’re able to narrow in and begin to focus on this spiritual target, success will follow.  Though you will not obtain a perfect score, the fruits of your labor will appear, Galatians 5:22.  Don’t be discouraged like I was when I first started this journey.  Rather, develop the right mindset to persevere for the long haul, 1 Timothy 6:11-12.  Despite how many times you fail, keep practicing until the Instructor calls you home.

by Jay Mankus

In Your Own Backyard

The older adults tend to get, the more complex they make life.  In the early years of imaginations, dreaming of becoming a doctor, firefighter and inventor, kids were encouraged to think big.  Sure, any goal requires discipline and hard work, but vision provides a sense of direction for individuals to aim or shoot for in life.  This is where I began my journey toward success.

These images never included my own back yard, community or neighborhood.  This was too narrow and small, lacking a grand design.  Thus, I pursued opportunities across state lines, throughout the nation and for a few weeks, to Canada to attempt to play professional golf.  Through the ups and downs and the peaks and valleys, God has brought me full circle to my own back yard to begin 2014.

In the PAX television series Hope Island, Cameron Daddo played a pastor of a small church, running away from a dark past and a father he could never please.  In the season finale, Cameron’s father, a famous evangelist similar to Billy Graham, invites him to join the ministry team and one day take over the ministry.  Excited by the offer, Daddo is torn between leaving a legacy or serving his congregation in his own backyard.  His answer is found in the attached you tube.

As for me, long gone are the days of becoming famous or attaining national recognition.  Rather, I feel called by the Holy Spirit to be a loving husband, a little league coach in Newark and support my children in their endeavors.  This reality may not come close to the fame encountered during countless goal setting sessions, yet for 2014 its where I need to be.  While students will be touched to feed starving people in 3rd world nations, there are plenty of places to start today to help others in your own backyard.

by Jay Mankus

Somebody Do Something

     During his inaugural address in 1961, John F. Kennedy understood the spirit of rugged individualism.  Instead of waiting for the government to come the rescue, JFK urged American citizens to be proactive by saying, “ask not what your country can do for you; ask what can you do for your country.”  In other words, somebody do something now!
     In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, residents from New Jersey and New York have been heard on television complaining to reporters covering the aftermath of this super storm.  These citizens directly affected have been waiting for FEMA, local officials and utility companies to come to the rescue with little or no avail.  Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh recently compared the Obama Administration to Santa Claus, creating a society seeking free handouts, goodies from the government.  Unfortunately, president Obama have convinced voters to go against JFK’s plea, waiting for somebody else to act.
     According to Jesus in Matthew 20:20-28 and Mark 9:46-50, the greatest achievement in life a person can accomplish is serving others.  Churches during Hurricane Katrina were vital transport areas, taking food and supplies directly to those affected.  Meanwhile, every Thanksgiving, homeless shelters across the nation provide a warm meal to the poor and needy.  Therefore, if you are tired of waiting for someone to come to your rescue, look around your neighborhood for a desperate soul and lend a helping hand.  When somebody does something for another individual, they will receive more from giving than they do from receiving.
by Jay Mankus
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