Soul Food 4 U

It addresses itself to every day issues of life from a Christian perspective. You'll be challenged. You'll be rebuked. You'll be encouraged. You'll grow.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

SERVE THE PEOPLE AND THEY WILL BE YOUR SERVANTS FOREVER

August 31, 2006

REFLECTIONS:
When people fail to understand who they are, they start competing with
others and that preoccupies them making them tired, frustrated, angry, and
short-tempered.
They achieve more who do not care who gets credit.
We can attempt to be in the hands of God like a pen is in the hands of a
man (John Wesley).
The more a person realises his/her power to choose, the more of a person
they become.

Text:
1 Kings 12:7 "If you will be a servant to these people today, and serve
them, and answer them, and speak good words to them, then they will be
your servants forever." NKJV

Gaining entry and permanent residence in the hearts of the people so that
we can effectively market ourselves and our beliefs to them is the
Christian term of reference (mandate) or call. We get inner strength when
we have assurance and security that comes from knowing that there are
people who love and accept us as we are and will look out for us. A true
partner is a person who is loyal to you and will be with you when you have
made mistakes and the whole world is out to show you how stupid you are.
The rulers and the ruled, the employer and the jobseeker, the rich and the
poor, all need the loyal service of a true partner who will be there
through the thick and thin of life.
To be effective disciple makers, peace makers, and change agents,
we need the art of making real, loyal friends in whom we can take refuge
from the hard knocks of this life. In spite of our being born into
families, learning in groups and finding the meaning of our lives through
people, the art of winning friends is not as natural as we may assume. The
ignored advice that the elders had given Rehoboam (1 Kings 12:7) remains
relevant for any one who wants to influence others. We are in people
business. According to the elders of Israel, winning permanent residence
in other peoples hearts involves serving, listening, and careful
selection of the words spoken to others.

HOW TO WIN PEOPLES HEARTS
1. Determine to be a servant to the people today- Tomorrow is today in
waiting; Yesterday is today lived. Today is what we have; life is
evaluated on the choices we make today.
Today in whatever position or circumstance you are in; decide to look out
for the need of others. Show the way to one who is unsure. Choose to
radiate warmth and extend friendship to those with whom you are. Determine
to communicate to those you interact with that you care and value them
everyday as long as it is today.
One obstruction to our service to others is fear of losing power, and the
respect that goes with our status. Somehow the apparent loss of power is
the actual key that turns the hearts of others to you and you gain more
power and respect. That was Jesus Christ style, . . . just as the Son of
Man did not come to be served, but to serve, (Matthew 20:28) NIV.
2. Answer the people - Listen to the people so that you respond to what
they are asking not just what you think they are asking. Many
organisations have taken time to come up with strategic plans that include
vision and mission for the company. If the mission statement is not linked
to a person on an individual basis, and it does not touch them on a
personal perceptive level, then it is meaningless. Mission statements can
be sterilisation of humanity with statements that are chock full of
corporate language and buzzwords but speak little to the hearts of the
individual. To imagine that an individual in desperation will kill
their aspirations in order to serve that of the organisation or church is
like assuming that a left handed person can become right handed because
you insist.
Listen to the dreams, aspirations and fears of the people so that you help
them know that in serving you they are not drowning themselves. If you
make the other person feel important, significant and valued, that person
is likely to be totally committed to your cause. Recognise the personhood
and humanness of people and they will offer you their shoulders to ride on
and that is how they willingly choose to be disciples of whoever you tell
them to obey.
Speak good words to the people - Select words that make people feel good
about themselves. Evaluate people from their intentions rather than their
actions and so give them benefit of doubt. Treasure hunt for, whatever is
true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is
lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or
praiseworthy-think about such things (Philippians 4:8) NIV.
Know that no one enjoys being criticised, pulled
down, embarrassed and humiliated and so avoid such words as would shrink
the person inside.. . . Pleasant words promote instruction.24 Pleasant
words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones
(Proverbs 16:21b, 24) NIV. Once people know that you have their welfare
at heart, they will drop their defences and be willing to take your
criticism and so you will help them to grow. People that find you
encouraging will be attracted to you and will allow themselves to be
influenced by your counsel.

If you recognise the unique, immeasurable presence of another, the person
will incline to you, listen and willingly follow you. Loyalty is a result
of you accepting to go with me on my journey and in return I will go with
you all the way. Calling others sinners, terrorists, is not Jesus
language. Jesus Christ took time to acknowledge the humanness of others,
he called those who others were calling sinners friends and he won their
hearts. The acknowledgement of Zaccheus, taking time to be with him, won
his heart, property and future (Luke 19: 1-11).
Rehoboam failed to take the counsel of the elders and he lost opportunity
to rule ten of the twelve tribes of Israel. Our positions and possessions
become empty shells that provide temporary or no security while the
influence and long-term loyalty is lost if we fail to serve the people,
listen and use our communicative acts to demonstrate our trust of them.
Rahab listened and served the Israel emissaries that were sent to spy her
country, and as a result she saved herself and her family as they became
incorporated among Gods people (Joshua 2). Rebecca listened and served a
thirsty traveller and his camels with water and she was rewarded by
getting a spouse in Gods chosen family (Genesis 24).
The entrance to other peoples inner world begins with our service to
them. That is what Jesus Christ did when he extended his open arms for us
(But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still
sinners, Christ died for us [Romans 5:8] and we now pledge our loyalty to
him with all we are and all we have in this life and in the life to come.
That is our pattern as we seek to serve God in serving humanity.

If your candle is not burning, you can light it from mine and I will
suffer no loss (Helen Keller).