Day 19 — Fourth Sunday Serve
#DETOX is designed to prioritize God in the new year as we allow him to cleanse and renew our souls (Psalm 51:10). Together, we are committing to 21 days of prayer and fasting so that we might come into greater alignment with God’s will, purposes and plans believing and trusting in His power alone to create lasting impact and change in our lives, our church and our world.
Over the course of our #DETOX journey, we will have a daily prayer focus that will help guide and unify us as a community in prayer as we seek God's heart together on a variety of topics. You can find an overview of our daily prayer focus topics here. The following post is meant to serve as a reminder and inspiration on what and how you might pray on today's prayer focus, but should not limit how God leads you in praying. Be sure to follow along daily at our #DETOX Daily Blog here.
Prayer Focus: Fourth Sunday Serve
Lately, I’ve been having trouble feeling connected to God. Not in a typical “dry season” that I’ve been accustomed to feel in the past, but more so that of the traditional ways I’d invest in my faith (QTs, bible studies, prayer times, etc.) feel inauthentic and unfruitful. My hunch is that it’s due to the dissonance I feel with my personal values of faith in Jesus, and some of the claims made by broader, Western Evangelical Christians across the nation. It doesn’t take much to see how polarizing the conversation can be (i.e. immigration, refugees, police brutality, racial equality, etc.). That’s not to say that my personal beliefs are better or worse, but it helped me realize that the ways I usually connected with God felt too introspective and removed to reconcile the tension I feel with what’s going on around the nation. I’m realizing that as the things I care about change, the ways that I connect with God are too.
As cliché as it is, one thing that’s been helpful in this season is to ask “what would Jesus do”. I’ve found that trying to model the way I live after how Jesus did, feels the most authentic in practicing my faith. I came across a TedTalk (only 4 minutes - link here) on the premise of silence being deadly. The speaker, Clint Smith, recounts about times where he let fear keep him silent in situations of injustice. He reflects how his silence appeases ignorance and how validation doesn’t need words to endorse its existence; by being silent in those situations, he was perpetuating the very injustice he despises. Hearing this reminded me that the same principle applies for inaction - that choosing out of standing up against injustice endorses oppression and marginalization.
In Luke 10, Jesus tells the parable of the Good Samaritan. In the passage, a man is stripped, beaten, and left on the side of a road near death. Two people pass the man before the Samaritan comes to help. Whenever I usually study this passage, I’m quick to praise the Samaritan and move on, but today I’m convicted by how un-Jesus-like the priest and Levite’s inaction is and how often I choose out of action in the same way. And I get it - I’m human. My fear gets the best of me; it’s scary to be in situations that are uncomfortable, inconvenient, or even potentially confrontational. When I think about the times I do speak up or choose into action, it’s usually in situations where I, or someone I care about, feel threatened or when I face opposition to something I believe in wholeheartedly. So what does it say when I’m not engaged in standing up against injustice in the same way Jesus does countless times throughout his ministry? Perhaps my belief in modeling after Jesus isn’t as wholehearted as I thought and the reality of how much I really care for the marginalized is seriously lacking.. ouch. Luckily, God is gracious and gives us ways to still draw near to Him through repentance and to serve Him by serving His people (see Matthew 25:35-40; Hebrews 6:10, 1 Peter 4:10).
I’ve been really thankful for Fourth Sunday Serve (FSS) at Marketplace Church. Not only has it provided an accessible way to serve others and for me to connect to God, but it also feels affirming that I’m a part of a church that is choosing action and is finding ways to work for justice. My hope is that FSS isn’t just checking a box on a list of “things I do to be a good Christian”, but rather, can be an opportunity for all of us to see, affirm, and love those who are less fortunate than us.
So today, ask God to reveal to you the ways that you’ve been silent or prone to inaction. Ask God to show you what breaks His heart and how you can be a part of restoring the love He has for all people.
Ask God how you can be a part of serving and meeting the needs of the broader community around you. And pray that as Marketplace continues to embed Fourth Sunday Serve into our rhythms, that we can love our community well and serve those who are in need with willing, generous, and joyful hearts.
— David L.