Our church is now in the midst of 10 days of Family Camp at the old campground, which has been on the outskirts of this small town... forever. Every year, the local churches gathered for a time of fellowship, renewing old acquaintances, fun and games for the kids, and lots of preaching, praying, singing, and shouting!
People still come from near and far in their campers or rent cabins or stay in the dorms. In its' heyday, it was quite an event and people planned their vacations around Camp Meeting.
As in any arena of life, a group of people from diverse backgrounds, living and working together are bound to have conflicts, great or small. It is just a part of the human condition; we take it in stride, and "kiss and make up" as God's people should do.
I was recently ill on a Sunday morning and unable to attend church, so I tuned in to Christian TV. I cannot remember the program, but the pastor was talking about how the Lord had the widow woman help Elijah during a terrible time of famine in Israel.
He told how the woman was about to fed herself and her son the last bite of food they had, and then die...yet, she gave her last morsel to the prophet of God. The teacher made some great points using several Biblical examples of how we are put here to serve and not BE served.
My mind recalled a conversation of how stressed one of the workers was with another, which often happens when there is so much to do, and not enough help. Of course, we know that "pride (self) is at the root of all contention", and we sometimes forget that we are to "prefer one another above ourselves".
The phrase turned over in my mind about being here to serve...Jesus came to serve man rather than being served...and I thought, "Lord, how did You serve man...how can WE serve each other"?
I don't know...maybe I'm just weird but then my entire family must be. It is very common when mentioning certain phrases, that I or my siblings will take off on an old song or TV program. Television was brand new when we were kids, and we had the first Black and White in the Hollow. (Our Dad went to radio and television school after WWII, and as his graduation project, he had to build his own set. It was the only television we had as long as he lived, and he never did put a case around it. I used to be scared to dust it, as the tubes were bare and the size of soup cans...now I have really dated myself!)...but I digress, (shades of Sophia... oh no, another TV program!)
Anyway, as I was thinking of serving man, my mind went back to an old Twilight Zone episode, called "How to Serve Man". To the best of my memory, the storyline was: the whole Earth was at war and on the verge of annihilation, when a space ship landed and huge beings stepped out. Of course, the earthlings were scared to death, but the big, strange ones soothed everyone and showed them their rule book for all the galaxies, entitled "How To Serve Man". They brought peace to all the warring nations, healed all diseases, ended famine and droughts, and generally turned our planet into Utopia.
They gave their book to the government as a gesture of goodwill, but it was written in their own language. There was a couple and friend of theirs (he may have been a scientist), who were the lead players in the story. The people of Earth fell in love with the aliens and many went off to visit their planet on spaceships which the aliens provided as a shuttle service. Some of the people came back telling of all the wonders they had seen, which enticed others to go. Some didn't return because they were reported to have been so taken with the planet, they had decided to stay.
(Meanwhile, the scientist friend couldn't let go of the uneasy feeling he had about the aliens, and he and his team continued to investigate the book in an attempt to interpret the language).
Finally, the couple in the story were getting ready to leave for a visit. They were in a long line going up the gangplank to board the ship, when their friend came on the run and screamed, above the din of the crowd, for them to stop. They couldn't understand what he was saying, but he kept motioning and yelling for them to come back. As they were fighting the crowd to return to see what their friend wanted, he kept shouting that they had broken the language code, as he held up the book on how to serve man. The couple got back to him and said "What is it, why are you so excited"? He said, "The book, the book...it's a COOKBOOK"!
Boy...they just don't write 'em like that anymore... but I love a good mystery, and learned to pinpoint the murderer from years of watching 'Alfred Hitchcock Presents ' (strange little, round, Englishman; but brilliant!). I used to aggravate my kids by figuring out the endings of movies, but in those days, I don't think I had discerned the "cookbook" ending, even though I, too, was suspicious of those aliens!
As I came back from my little trip down memory lane, the preacher was continuing his message about serving one another. For the life of me, I cannot remember anything else he said other than the part about Elijah. He did elaborate on the fact that out of all the widows in the land, God saw the one who would obey the prophet of God as unto the Lord. By feeding God's representative, she had initially placed God above herself and even her own child. Of course, because of her obedience, the widow and her son were fed for the rest of the famine.
I believe the main objective of me seeing the program that day was to remind me of service. We live in a harsh and selfish world nowadays, where even human life is considered of little value. I guess that "kinder and gentler nation" fell by the wayside when God was kicked to the curb. However, the Church is to be the example to the world, as Christ was an example to the Church.
During His life on earth, Jesus took care of people. He took care of His mother, the disciples, and all the people to whom He had ministered. He fed them, healed them, saved them, and taught them the principles of the Kingdom. Jesus assumed the role of a servant when He washed the disciples feet after their last supper. Before the next day had ended, Christ died for them, as well as the whole world. He said there was no greater love than to lay down your life for a friend. Sadly, most of us don't love enough to lay down our plans, opinions, time, habits, energy, money or even the Remote for God... let alone a friend.
"How to serve man" is not found in a cookbook...it is found in the GOOD
Book...the Holy Bible!
It tells us to love God with all our heart and to love our neighbor as ourselves...and to be kind to one another.
"Lord Jesus, write those words upon our hearts"...Amen.
God Bless You All,
W. O. W.
Joy is one of the fruit of the Spirit within you. Let it out!!