And one of them, a lawyer, asked him [Jesus] a question to test him. 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (ESV)
Jesus here re-writes the script on the commandments. In response to the lawyer, he concisely summarizes all of God's commandments down to two. I really like how the commentators from the Gospel Transformation Bible describe the heart of this passage; "A loving commitment to God, initiated by God himself, results in love for one’s neighbor. When we love God, we love what and whom he loves—because we desire to please and honor him." (ref. 1 John 4:19; see also Rom. 5:8). It is His love for us that enables us to love others and serve them in radical ways.
This week you will have an opportunity to do just that - by putting the spiritual discipline of serving into practice with your group. If you haven't already done so, work together to identify a way to serve others as a group. For this week you will be serving together during your normal gathering time. But as you are considering what each other's passions are and how you might serve, also discuss how this can become something you do together on a regular basis (weekly, monthly or quarterly). Who can champion and organize that for the group? One benefit of doing something more regularly is being able to build relationships with those whom you serve.
The following questions can help in creating a plan:
- Who will you serve?
- How will you serve them?
- Who will participate?
- What supplies will you need?
- When will you do it?
Some possible ways you can serve those in your community
• Write in and hand out greeting cards to hospital patients, those in a local retirement home or recovery/homeless shelter.
• Identify someone who you could do yard work for and everyone bring supplies and contributes to the effort.
• In your group, create care bags for the homeless (hygiene products, granola bars [no chocolate], water, etc). Then, each person takes a few bags to place in their car and hand out later that week as they meet those in need.
• Prepare sack lunches for the homeless and hand out together. Offer to pray for those you come in contact with.
Other suggestions: Visit the local nursing home and spend time playing games with the residents. Volunteer to read to elementary students or help tutor local school children. Also, prayerfully consider and discuss how your group can make serving others together a regular practice?
To access a list of organizations you can partner with in your area click HERE
Here is a guideline for your gatherings:
• VISION CAST - Give the group a vision for why they are there - the purpose of being in a Discipleship Group - and the motivation this week's activity.
• ACTIVITY - This week we will be putting the discipline of serving into practice. If you haven't already identified a project to do together you will need to do that as soon as possible. A majority of the examples given require pre-planning and asking that people bring supplies.
• DEBRIEF - If you have time debrief each person's experience through the spiritual discipline. Then, close your time in prayer.
Coming up next week: we will be practicing Christian meditation together. Ask that everyone bring their workbooks and Bibles.
Week 7 Workbook
Get an advanced PDF version of the next workbook now, then grab a printed copy on Sunday.