Strategies for Seeing Anew #24
…towards giving and serving others
What does this mean?
Servants were the hired hands and slaves of Jesus’ time. Jesus took this word and gave it a new and radical meaning. He took a word that described a person under the authority of others and used it to redefine leadership and greatness. Christians call Jesus the ‘servant King’ for he washed his disciples' feet and expected his followers to be willing to act similarly (John 13:14-15). Jesus made it clear that in the kingdom of God those who are greatest are those who serve God and others.
One of the principal rules of religion is, to lose no occasion of serving God. And, since he is invisible to our eyes, we are to serve him in our neighbour; which he receives as if done to himself in person, standing visibly before us. John Wesley
Giving is a strong motif in the Bible. John’s gospel says that God loved the world so much he gave his only son (John 3:16). God gave the world to humanity and provides for them; in response, God calls for generosity to others. Giving to the poor and needy is accepted as done to Christ (Matthew 25:37-40). Jesus said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive."
Wealth is seen positively in the Bible when it is matched by generosity and when it is not put before others and God. The Bible does not say that money is evil; it says people should not ‘serve’ it or love it (1 Timothy 6:10). Riches should be gained honestly and justly and are for sharing. With wealth comes a responsibility for others (Deuteronomy 16:17). The attitude of the Bible is summed up in Luke’s gospel: we are not defined by what we own (Luke 12:15).
This section is about moving towards giving and serving others. You may wish to think about where people move from; is it a move from selfishness and self-serving or is it a move from an attitude of fear that there may not be enough attention, love, generosity, etc. to go round?
What does this mean in school?
Students can look at different forms of giving in a variety of subjects: giving of wealth, self, time and skills, and the difference this giving makes:
- Use examples of giving and serving where you can, for example, in maths.
- Create giving and serving role-play possibilities in play areas for young children, supplying gift bags and boxes.
- Create opportunities to give and serve in different ways as part of learning. A student might give of their skills or time to another student as part of learning.
- Use examples of people who serve, such as scientists who use their knowledge to serve others.
- Explore local projects that serve the community and relate them to student learning, for example, an environmental project.
- Find appropriate ways to give status to serving in the school.
Think of a time when you experienced a student giving to you or serving you in some way. Identify a lesson or unit where you can change the framework to giving and serving, for example, a topic on transport can look at how transport serves the community or the role of ICT in serving the community. A geography survey of the local area can look at how a range of needs (physical, intellectual, emotional, spiritual) are served.
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In this document:
1It was before Passover, and Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and to return to the Father. He had always loved his followers in this world, and he loved them to the very end. 2Even before the evening meal started, the devil had made Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, decide to betray Jesus. 3Jesus knew that he had come from God and would go back to God. He also knew that the Father had given him complete power. 4So during the meal Jesus got up, removed his outer garment, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5He put some water into a large bowl. Then he began washing his disciples' feet and drying them with the towel he was wearing. 6But when he came to Simon Peter, that disciple asked, Lord, are you going to wash my feet? 7Jesus answered, You don't really know what I am doing, but later you will understand. 8You will never wash my feet! Peter replied. If I don't wash you, Jesus told him, you don't really belong to me. 9Peter said, Lord, don't wash just my feet. Wash my hands and my head. 10Jesus answered, People who have bathed and are clean all over need to wash just their feet. And you, my disciples, are clean, except for one of you. 11Jesus knew who would betray him. That is why he said, except for one of you. 12After Jesus had washed his disciples' feet and had put his outer garment back on, he sat down again. Then he said: Do you understand what I have done? 13You call me your teacher and Lord, and you should, because that is who I am. 14And if your Lord and teacher has washed your feet, you should do the same for each other. 15I have set the example, and you should do for each other exactly what I have done for you. 16I tell you for certain that servants are not greater than their master, and messengers are not greater than the one who sent them. 17You know these things, and God will bless you, if you do them. 18I am not talking about all of you. I know the ones I have chosen. But what the Scriptures say must come true. And they say, The man who ate with me has turned against me! 19I am telling you this before it all happens. Then when it does happen, you will believe who I am. 20I tell you for certain that anyone who welcomes my messengers also welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Jesus tells what will happen to him (Matthew 26.20-25; Mark 14.17-21; Luke 22.21-23) 21After Jesus had said these things, he was deeply troubled and told his disciples, I tell you for certain that one of you will betray me. 22They were confused about what he meant. And they just stared at each other. 23Jesus' favourite disciple was sitting next to him at the meal, 24and Simon motioned for that disciple to find out which one Jesus meant. 25So the disciple leaned towards Jesus and asked, Lord, which one of us are you talking about? 26Jesus answered, I will dip this piece of bread in the sauce and give it to the one I was talking about. Then Jesus dipped the bread and gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. 27At once Satan took control of Judas. Jesus said, Judas, go quickly and do what you have to do. 28No one at the meal understood what Jesus meant. 29But because Judas was in charge of the money, some of them thought that Jesus had told him to buy something they needed for the festival. Others thought that Jesus had told him to give some money to the poor. 30Judas took the piece of bread and went out. It was already night. The new command 31After Judas had gone, Jesus said: Now the Son of Man will be given glory, and he will bring glory to God. 32Then, after God is given glory because of him, God will bring glory to him, and God will do it very soon. 33My children, I will be with you for a little while longer. Then you will look for me, but you won't find me. I tell you just as I told the people, You cannot go where I am going. 34But I am giving you a new command. You must love each other, just as I have loved you. 35If you love each other, everyone will know that you are my disciples. Peter's promise (Matthew 26.31-35; Mark 14.27-31; Luke 22.31-34) 36Simon Peter asked, Lord, where are you going? Jesus answered, You can't go with me now, but later on you will. 37Peter asked, Lord, why can't I go with you now? I would die for you! 38Would you really die for me? Jesus asked. I tell you for certain that before a cock crows, you will say three times that you don't even know me. Jesus is the way to the Father
1There was a man named Nicodemus who was a Pharisee and a Jewish leader. 2One night he went to Jesus and said, Sir, we know that God has sent you to teach us. You could not perform these miracles, unless God were with you. 3Jesus replied, I tell you for certain that you must be born from above before you can see God's kingdom! 4Nicodemus asked, How can a grown man ever be born a second time? 5Jesus answered: I tell you for certain that before you can get into God's kingdom, you must be born not only by water, but by the Spirit. 6Humans give life to their children. Yet only God's Spirit can change you into a child of God. 7Don't be surprised when I say that you must be born from above. 8Only God's Spirit gives new life. The Spirit is like the wind that blows wherever it wants to. You can hear the wind, but you don't know where it comes from or where it is going. 9How can this be? Nicodemus asked. 10Jesus replied: How can you be a teacher of Israel and not know these things? 11I tell you for certain that we know what we are talking about because we have seen it ourselves. But none of you will accept what we say. 12If you don't believe when I talk to you about things on earth, how can you possibly believe if I talk to you about things in heaven? 13No one has gone up to heaven except the Son of Man, who came down from there. 14And the Son of Man must be lifted up, just as that metal snake was lifted up by Moses in the desert. 15Then everyone who has faith in the Son of Man will have eternal life. 16God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die. 17God did not send his Son into the world to condemn its people. He sent him to save them! 18No one who has faith in God's Son will be condemned. But everyone who doesn't have faith in him has already been condemned for not having faith in God's only Son. 19The light has come into the world, and people who do evil things are judged guilty because they love the dark more than the light. 20People who do evil hate the light and won't come to the light, because it clearly shows what they have done. 21But everyone who lives by the truth will come to the light, because they want others to know that God is really the one doing what they do. Jesus and John the Baptist 22Later, Jesus and his disciples went to Judea, where he stayed with them for a while and was baptizing people. 23John had not yet been put in jail. He was at Aenon near Salim, where there was a lot of water, and people were coming there for John to baptize them. 25John's followers got into an argument with a Jewish man about a ceremony of washing. 26They went to John and said, Rabbi, you spoke about a man when you were with him east of the Jordan. He is now baptizing people, and everyone is going to him. 27John replied: No one can do anything unless God in heaven allows it. 28Surely you remember how I told you that I am not the Messiah. I am only the one sent ahead of him. 29At a wedding the groom is the one who gets married. The best man is glad just to be there and to hear the groom's voice. That's why I am so glad. 30Jesus must become more important, while I become less important. The one who comes from heaven John continued: 31God's Son comes from heaven and is above all others. Everyone who comes from the earth belongs to the earth and speaks about earthly things. The one who comes from heaven is above all others. 32He speaks about what he has seen and heard, and yet no one believes him. 33But everyone who does believe him has shown that God is truthful. 34The Son was sent to speak God's message, and he has been given the full power of God's Spirit. 35The Father loves the Son and has given him everything. 36Everyone who has faith in the Son has eternal life. But no one who rejects him will ever share in that life, and God will be angry with them for ever.
1The kingdom of heaven is like what happened one night when ten girls took their oil lamps and went to a wedding to meet the groom. 2Five of the girls were foolish and five were wise. 3The foolish ones took their lamps, but no extra oil. 4The ones who were wise took along extra oil for their lamps. 5The groom was late arriving, and the girls became drowsy and fell asleep. 6Then in the middle of the night someone shouted, Here's the groom! Come to meet him! 7When the girls got up and started getting their lamps ready, 8the foolish ones said to the others, Let us have some of your oil! Our lamps are going out. 9The girls who were wise answered, There's not enough oil for all of us! Go and buy some for yourselves. 10While the foolish girls were on their way to get some oil, the groom arrived. The girls who were ready went into the wedding, and the doors were closed. 11Later the other girls returned and shouted, Sir, sir! Open the door for us! 12But the groom replied, I don't even know you! 13So, my disciples, always be ready! You don't know the day or the time when all this will happen. A story about three servants (Luke 19.11-27) Jesus continued: 14The kingdom is also like what happened when a man went away and put his three servants in charge of all he owned. 15The man knew what each servant could do. So he handed five thousand coins to the first servant, two thousand to the second, and one thousand to the third. Then he left the country. 16As soon as the man had gone, the servant with the five thousand coins used them to earn five thousand more. 17The servant who had two thousand coins did the same with his money and earned two thousand more. 18But the servant with one thousand coins dug a hole and hid his master's money in the ground. 19Some time later the master of those servants returned. He called them in and asked what they had done with his money. 20The servant who had been given five thousand coins brought them in with the five thousand that he had earned. He said, Sir, you gave me five thousand coins, and I have earned five thousand more. 21Wonderful! his master replied. You are a good and faithful servant. I left you in charge of only a little, but now I will put you in charge of much more. Come and share in my happiness! 22Next, the servant who had been given two thousand coins came in and said, Sir, you gave me two thousand coins, and I have earned two thousand more. 23Wonderful! his master replied. You are a good and faithful servant. I left you in charge of only a little, but now I will put you in charge of much more. Come and share in my happiness! 24The servant who had been given one thousand coins then came in and said, Sir, I know that you are hard to get along with. You harvest what you don't plant and gather crops where you haven't scattered seed. 25I was frightened and went out and hid your money in the ground. Here is every single coin! 26The master of the servant told him, You are lazy and good-for-nothing! You know that I harvest what I don't plant and gather crops where I haven't scattered seed. 27You could have at least put my money in the bank, so that I could have earned interest on it. 28Then the master said, Now your money will be taken away and given to the servant with ten thousand coins! 29Everyone who has something will be given more, and they will have more than enough. But everything will be taken from those who don't have anything. 30You are a worthless servant, and you will be thrown out into the dark where people will cry and grit their teeth in pain. The final judgment Jesus continued: 31When the Son of Man comes in his glory with all his angels, he will sit on his royal throne. 32The people of all nations will be brought before him, and he will separate them, as shepherds separate their sheep from their goats. 33He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 34Then the king will say to those on his right, My father has blessed you! Come and receive the kingdom that was prepared for you before the world was created. 35When I was hungry, you gave me something to eat, and when I was thirsty, you gave me something to drink. When I was a stranger, you welcomed me, 36and when I was naked, you gave me clothes to wear. When I was sick, you took care of me, and when I was in jail, you visited me. 37Then the ones who pleased the Lord will ask, When did we give you something to eat or drink? 38When did we welcome you as a stranger or give you clothes to wear 39or visit you while you were sick or in jail? 40The king will answer, Whenever you did it for any of my people, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you did it for me. 41Then the king will say to those on his left, Get away from me! You are under God's curse. Go into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels! 42I was hungry, but you did not give me anything to eat, and I was thirsty, but you did not give me anything to drink. 43I was a stranger, but you did not welcome me, and I was naked, but you did not give me any clothes to wear. I was sick and in jail, but you did not take care of me. 44Then the people will ask, Lord, when did we fail to help you when you were hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in jail? 45The king will say to them, Whenever you failed to help any of my people, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you failed to do it for me. 46Then Jesus said, Those people will be punished for ever. But the ones who pleased God will have eternal life. The plot to kill Jesus (Mark 14.1,2; Luke 22.1,2; John 11.45-53)
1If you are a slave, you should respect and honour your owner. This will keep people from saying bad things about God and about our teaching. 2If any of you slaves have owners who are followers, you should show them respect. After all, they are also followers of Christ, and he loves them. So you should serve and help them the best you can. False teaching and true wealth These are the things you must teach and tell the people to do. 3Anyone who teaches something different disagrees with the correct and godly teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ. 4Those people who disagree are proud of themselves, but they don't really know a thing. Their minds are sick, and they like to argue over words. They cause jealousy, disagreements, unkind words, evil suspicions, 5and nasty quarrels. They have wicked minds and have missed out on the truth. These people think religion is supposed to make you rich. 6And religion does make your life rich, by making you content with what you have. 7We didn't bring anything into this world, and we won't take anything with us when we leave. 8So we should be satisfied just to have food and clothes. 9People who want to be rich fall into all sorts of temptations and traps. They are caught by foolish and harmful desires that drag them down and destroy them. 10The love of money causes all kinds of trouble. Some people want money so much that they have given up their faith and caused themselves a lot of pain. Fighting a good fight for the faith 11Timothy, you belong to God, so keep away from all these evil things. Try your best to please God and to be like him. Be faithful, loving, dependable, and gentle. 12Fight a good fight for the faith and claim eternal life. God offered it to you when you clearly told about your faith, while so many people listened. 13Now I ask you to make a promise. Make it in the presence of God, who gives life to all, and in the presence of Jesus Christ, who openly told Pontius Pilate about his faith. 14Promise to obey completely and fully all that you have been told until our Lord Jesus Christ returns. 15The glorious God is the only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords. At the time that God has already decided, he will send Jesus Christ back again. 16Only God lives for ever! And he lives in light that no one can come near. No human has ever seen God or ever can see him. God will be honoured, and his power will last for ever. Amen. 17Warn the rich people of this world not to be proud or to trust in wealth that is easily lost. Tell them to have faith in God, who is rich and blesses us with everything we need to enjoy life. 18Instruct them to do as many good deeds as they can and to help everyone. Remind the rich to be generous and share what they have. 19This will lay a solid foundation for the future, so that they will know what true life is like. 20Timothy, guard what God has placed in your care! Don't pay any attention to that godless and stupid talk that sounds clever but really isn't. 21Some people have even lost their faith by believing this talk. I pray that the Lord will be kind to all of you!
1People of Israel, you must celebrate Passover in the month of Abib, because one night in that month years ago, the Lord your God rescued you from Egypt. 2The Passover sacrifice must be a cow, a sheep, or a goat, and you must offer it at the place where the Lord chooses to be worshipped. 3Eat all the meat of the Passover sacrifice that same night. But don't serve bread made with yeast at the Passover meal. Serve the same kind of thin bread that you ate when you were slaves suffering in Egypt and when you had to leave Egypt quickly. As long as you live, this thin bread will remind you of the day you left Egypt. For seven days following Passover, don't make any bread with yeast. In fact, there should be no yeast anywhere in Israel. 5Don't offer the Passover sacrifice in any town where you happen to live. 6It must be offered at the place where the Lord chooses to be worshipped. Kill the sacrifice at sunset, the time of day when you left Egypt. 7Then cook it and eat it there at the place of worship, returning to your tents the next morning. 8Eat thin bread for the next six days. Then on the seventh day, don't do any work. Instead, come together and worship the Lord . The Harvest Festival (Exodus 34.22; Leviticus 23.15-21) Moses said to Israel: 9Seven weeks after you start your grain harvest, 10go to the place where the Lord chooses to be worshipped and celebrate the Harvest Festival in honour of the Lord your God. Bring him an offering as large as you can afford, depending on how big a harvest he has given you. Be sure to take along your sons and daughters and all your servants. Also invite the poor, including Levites, foreigners, orphans, and widows. 12Remember that you used to be slaves in Egypt, so obey these laws. The Festival of Shelters (Leviticus 23.33-43; Numbers 29.12-38) Moses said to Israel: 13After you have finished the grain harvest and the grape harvest, take your sons and daughters and all your servants to the place where the Lord chooses to be worshipped. Celebrate the Festival of Shelters for seven days. Also invite the poor, including Levites, foreigners, orphans, and widows. The Lord will give you big harvests and make you successful in everything you do. You will be completely happy, so celebrate this festival in honour of the Lord your God. Three festivals at the place of worship (Exodus 23.14-17) Moses said: 16Each year there are three festivals when all Israelite men must go to the place where the Lord chooses to be worshipped. These are the Festival of Thin Bread, the Harvest Festival, and the Festival of Shelters. And don't forget to take along a gift for the Lord . 17The bigger the harvest the Lord gives you, the bigger your gift should be. Treat everyone with justice Moses said to Israel: 18After you are settled in the towns that you will receive from the Lord your God, the people in each town must appoint judges and other officers. Those of you who become judges must be completely fair when you make legal decisions, even if someone important is involved. Don't take bribes to give unfair decisions. Bribes keep people who are wise from seeing the truth and turn honest people into liars. 20People of Israel, if you want to enjoy a long and successful life, make sure that everyone is treated with justice in the land the Lord is giving you. Don't set up sacred poles or stones Moses said to Israel: 21When you build the altar for offering sacrifices to the Lord your God, don't set up a sacred pole for the worship of the goddess Asherah. 22And don't set up a sacred stone! The Lord hates these things. Sacrifices that have something wrong with them Moses said to Israel:
1As thousands of people crowded around Jesus and were stepping on each other, he told his disciples: Be sure to guard against the dishonest teaching of the Pharisees! It is their way of fooling people. 2Everything that is hidden will be found out, and every secret will be known. 3Whatever you say in the dark will be heard when it is day. Whatever you whisper in a closed room will be shouted from the housetops. The one to fear (Matthew 10.28-31) Jesus continued: 4My friends, don't be afraid of people. They can kill you, but after that, there is nothing else they can do. 5God is the one you must fear. Not only can he take your life, but he can throw you into hell. God is certainly the one you should fear! 6Five sparrows are sold for just two pennies, but God doesn't forget a single one of them. 7Even the hairs on your head are counted. So don't be afraid! You are worth much more than many sparrows. Telling others about Christ (Matthew 10.32,33; 12.32; 10.19,20) Jesus continued: 8If you tell others that you belong to me, the Son of Man will tell God's angels that you are my followers. 9But if you reject me, you will be rejected in front of them. 10If you speak against the Son of Man, you can be forgiven, but if you speak against the Holy Spirit, you cannot be forgiven. 11When you are brought to trial in the Jewish meeting places or before rulers or officials, don't worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say. 12At that time the Holy Spirit will tell you what to say. A rich fool 13A man in a crowd said to Jesus, Teacher, tell my brother to give me my share of what our father left us when he died. 14Jesus answered, Who gave me the right to settle arguments between you and your brother? 15Then he said to the crowd, Don't be greedy! Owning a lot of things won't make your life safe. 16So Jesus told them this story: A rich man's farm produced a big crop, 17and he said to himself, What can I do? I don't have a place large enough to store everything. 18Later, he said, Now I know what I'll do. I'll tear down my barns and build bigger ones, where I can store all my grain and other goods. 19Then I'll say to myself, You have stored up enough good things to last for years to come. Live it up! Eat, drink, and enjoy yourself. 20But God said to him, You fool! Tonight you will die. Then who will get what you have stored up? 21This is what happens to people who store up everything for themselves, but are poor in the sight of God. Worry (Matthew 6.25-34) 22Jesus said to his disciples: I tell you not to worry about your life! Don't worry about having something to eat or wear. 23Life is more than food or clothing. 24Look at the crows! They don't plant or harvest, and they don't have storehouses or barns. But God takes care of them. You are much more important than any birds. 25Can worry make you live longer? 26If you don't have power over small things, why worry about everything else? 27Look how the wild flowers grow! They don't work hard to make their clothes. But I tell you that Solomon with all his wealth wasn't as well clothed as one of these flowers. 28God gives such beauty to everything that grows in the fields, even though it is here today and thrown into a fire tomorrow. Won't he do even more for you? You have such little faith! 29Don't keep worrying about having something to eat or drink. 30Only people who don't know God are always worrying about such things. Your Father knows what you need. 31But put God's work first, and these things will be yours as well. Treasures in heaven (Matthew 6.19-21) Jesus continued: 32My little group of disciples, don't be afraid! Your Father wants to give you the kingdom. 33Sell what you have and give the money to the poor. Make yourselves money bags that never wear out. Make sure your treasure is safe in heaven, where thieves cannot steal it and moths cannot destroy it. 34Your heart will always be where your treasure is. Faithful and unfaithful servants (Matthew 24.45-51) Jesus continued: 35Be ready and keep your lamps burning 36just like those servants who wait up for their master to return from a wedding feast. As soon as he comes and knocks, they open the door for him. 37Servants are fortunate if their master finds them awake and ready when he comes! I promise you that he will get ready and make his servants sit down so that he can serve them. 38Those servants are really fortunate if their master finds them ready, even though he comes late at night or early in the morning. 39You would not let a thief break into your home, if you knew when the thief was coming. 40So always be ready! You don't know when the Son of Man will come. 41Peter asked Jesus, Did you say this just for us or for everyone? 42The Lord answered: Who are faithful and wise servants? Who are the ones the master will put in charge of giving the other servants their food supplies at the proper time? 43Servants are fortunate if their master comes and finds them doing their job. 44A servant who is always faithful will be put in charge of everything the master owns. 45But suppose one of the servants thinks that the master won't return until late. Suppose that servant starts beating all the other servants and eats and drinks and gets drunk. 46If that happens, the master will come on a day and at a time when the servant least expects him. That servant will then be punished and thrown out with the servants who cannot be trusted. 47If servants are not ready or willing to do what their master wants them to do, they will be beaten hard. 48But servants who don't know what their master wants them to do will not be beaten so hard for doing wrong. If God has been generous with you, he will expect you to serve him well. But if he has been more than generous, he will expect you to serve him even better. Not peace, but trouble (Matthew 10.34-36) Jesus continued: 49I came to set fire to the earth, and I wish it were already on fire! 50I am going to be put to a hard test. And I will have to suffer a lot of pain until it is over. 51Do you think that I came to bring peace to earth? No indeed! I came to make people choose sides. 52A family of five will be divided, with two of them against the other three. 53Fathers and sons will turn against one another, and mothers and daughters will do the same. Mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law will also turn against each other. Knowing what to do (Matthew 16.2,3; 5.25,26) 54Jesus said to all the people: As soon as you see a cloud coming up in the west, you say, It's going to rain, and it does. 55When the south wind blows, you say, It's going to get hot, and it does. 56Are you trying to fool someone? You can predict the weather by looking at the earth and sky, but you don't really know what's going on right now. 57Why don't you understand the right thing to do? 58When someone accuses you of something, try to settle things before you are taken to court. If you don't, you will be dragged before the judge. Then the judge will hand you over to the jailer, and you will be locked up. 59You won't get out until you have paid the last penny you owe. Turn back to God