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October 16 – Joyfully serving Christ

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. – Titus 2:11-14

Scripture reading: 1 Kings 19:19-21

Well, that was a surprise! Elisha is plowing on his family’s farm and suddenly Elijah throws his cloak on him. Somehow Elisha knew what that meant and joyfully responds. He runs after Elijah, eager to do God’s work. He bids farewell to his parents, kissing them goodbye. He slaughters his oxen and burns the yokes, indicating that he was making a complete break both with his former work and future inheritance. And he celebrates his call to service with his friends. Elisha eagerly responds to God’s call.

That’s a good word for us, isn’t it? Our service to God is too often bare duty. We serve in Church office because the congregation elected us. We care for our elderly parents because it is the right thing to do. We attend worship because God calls us to. We resist sin because it is against God’s law. It is right to do things because our Master places these obligations upon us, but shouldn’t there also be delight in our doing? These obligations are opportunities to do something for Christ. And shouldn’t joy saturate our service?

It wasn’t going to be easy for Elisha. He was leaving a large farm and an affectionate family. Farming was just becoming fun again now that the drought was over. And the life he was going to lacked security and promised hardship. And notice, he was called to be Elijah’s assistant. Hardly glamorous. By the grace of God, he heeded God’s call. Should not Christ’s service to us win our service to Him? Shouldn’t the grace of God make us zealous for good works?

Suggestions for prayer

Ask that God would forgive us for our, at times, begrudging obedience. Pray that the Holy Spirit might conform us to the image of Christ who said, ‘I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.’

This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. John van Eyk is the Senior Pastor of Trinity Reformed Church (United Reformed) in Lethbridge, Alberta.

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