Good Morning MABC,

 Hope you all had a great long holiday weekend. On Memorial Day I often wonder about the men and women who served in our armed forces to preserve our country.  I wonder what they would think about our country today.  Is this the country they thought they were giving their lives for? Would they think their sacrifice was still worth it?  Was their service in vain?

Sherry was reading about Solomon in her devotions this morning and what a pitiful story.  Here is a man who had it all.  He was the head of the world’s most powerful country at that time. He was rich beyond measure. In Ecclesiastes chapter 2 in verses 1 through 10, he uses the word “I” ten times: I undertook, I built, I made, I made, I bought, I owned,  I amassed, I acquired, I denied myself nothing.   The most telling of all the “I” statements came in verse 9 – I became greater than anyone in Jerusalem before me.  Wow!  In our message on fellowship two Sundays ago I said that self-centeredness is a big problem in our culture today even for us as professing followers of Jesus. Most of us lived in the 70’s and 80’s as young adults or were adults raising children fighting against the “it’s all about me” or “what’s in it for me” culture.

This past Sunday we talked about a mindset that is counter cultural today.  That mindset was that of a servant.  The antidote to Solomon’s problems and that of culture today is service.  Service, we said, was focusing on someone other than self.  Patrick Morley, a leader in men’s ministry and writes this:

      From a practical standpoint, the self-focused lifestyle

      simply doesn’t work.  It won’t make you happy. In fact, it          will make you miserable.

If you have ever read Ecclesiastes you will find that Solomon discovered that very thing. After all of his “I” statements in chapter 2, he says this:

 Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done, and               what I had toiled to achieve, everything was                             meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was                 gained under the sun.  Ecclesiastes 2:11 NIV

At the end of Ecclesiastes Solomon says this:

 Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the              matter: Fear God and keep his commandments for this          is the duty of mankind.  (12:13)

The greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with everything you are and love your neighbor as yourself.  As you contemplate loving the Lord and loving neighbor, remember that love is not just a feeling.  Love is an action.  Jesus says there is “no greater love than to lay down your life for your friends.” This isn’t just referring to physically dying for someone but also denying self to serve others.    

Who will you serve this week?

Pastor Rick