If there is anything that speaks to our most recent days, I would say that it is the Apostle Paul who, in Galatians 5:15, said “But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.” If this is where we are going, how do we change direction?
One of the most memorable and powerful quotes of Martin Luther King is: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, What are you doing for others?” But left with that quote, we ought to be cautious, because it can bring a new form of legalism. This legalism is one of the most self-destructive because there is no limit to what you can do for other people. I know the management axiom, “never bring up the problem without bringing up a potential solution.” Knowing that Martin Luther King was a preacher of the gospel, the answer to the context is likely found in scripture.
In today’s culture, when marginalized people seem bent on devouring each other, Paul offers sage advice in Galations 5:13-14. Those verses say, “For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, "YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF." As we have observed before, the phrase “serve one another” is a reflective pronoun. As we serve someone, we are served. How can this be? Faith declares that in the economy of God, He works that part out to your benefit. It is not that we have to serve one another. The truth that sets us free is that we get to serve one another. The challenge is to make sure that we are being led by the Spirit of God in choosing who to serve, when to serve, and how to serve.
One of the challenges that the COVID lockdown has brought is that we need to be considerably more intentional in creating fellowship opportunities. One of the best ways to create powerful opportunities for God to be glorified is to combine principles. To honor the quote above about loving your neighbor as yourself, as an example would be to love someone like they want to be loved. You add to that a way of serving them in a way that benefits them. You can add to that a means whereby fellowship can happen outside of conventional assembly happenings. You have created a compounded opportunity for God to bless the event, empower you, and God to get the glory. You call someone in need (allowed under current COVID restrictions) and offer them a way that you can serve them. If they decline that, and if you feel led, offer to serve them in a way that they want to be served. Before, during, and after you are doing that act of service, pray, asking to experience more of God’s will for your life.
How blessed we are, that there are these kinds of opportunities for us to demonstrate that we are the people of God!