In the previous lesson, we discussed the impact of commitment in the hope of increasing our gratitude for God’s loving commitment to salvation and for those he has put in our lives to help us. Unless we allow ourselves to be truly served by Christ and truly cared for by others, the sacrifices we are called to make will be intolerable. And that is what we are called to do - sacrificially serve others to the glory of God.
Sacrifice requires a deep commitment on our part, a commitment that is challenged by the inevitable pain that sacrificing for the benefit of others brings upon us. This pain is at its most acute in the presence of unchanging, intractable circumstances and often prompts us to withdraw our help. But we are not called to produce change, we are called to love others and trust in God’s promises to heal and make all things new.
This is no easy antidote to pain. But as we avail ourselves of God’s mercy and learn to more deeply trust the help of others, we will find that our sacrificial service will not only be tolerable but will bring us deep joy even in the face of the most harrowing problems.
In this lesson we will discuss the principle that people are more important than change in order to press home the necessity for patience in our service to others. People are very important, made in the image of God (lesson one), with something valuable to contribute (lesson two).
Wherever we encounter other people we have the opportunity to learn the redemptive story that God is already telling there. Expecting to encounter God and his grace deepens our reliance on him and helps us become trustworthy enough to bridge whatever cultural barriers might exist between us and those we meet (lesson four).
Wherever we encounter problems, we have the opportunity and responsibility to rest in God’s commitment to us and to enjoy the help of those he calls to help us (lesson five). God does not leave us alone and while some will hurt us and disappoint us, others will nurture and help us.
In this context of dignified interdependence with God and others, we can increase our commitment to serving others and have hope that while change may be stubbornly absent, God’s purposes and promises are ever with us (lesson six).