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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Grin and Grow with Kathy 11/22/17

Othering: The Gift of One-Anothering

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STORY: At Your Service

What is the modern-day equivalent of foot-washing? It just might be changing someone else’s adult diaper. Let me back up and explain. My husband Russ is a hospice chaplain. He predominately is there to offer spiritual comfort and wisdom to terminal patients, their families, and their caregivers. He keeps the medical staff at hospice encouraged. But there are times he is asked to serve in menial tasks. A test of a true Christ-follower is whether or not they think these jobs are beneath them.

There are times when Russ gets called to deliver supplies to a family. Sometimes he brings them much needed palliative care medications. (We jokingly call him a drug runner!) Sometimes, he supplies adult diapers. But one time, the nurse needed physical help changing a male patient’s diaper. Russ said that wasn’t something they trained him to do. But it was his heart’s desire to practice othering, not his head knowledge, that took charge. This very personal task served the patient, and it aided the nurse.

How can we go about othering, when we don’t care what the task is?

STUDY: Serve and Submit

If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. (John 13:14 ESV)

  • In Bible times, the washing of feet was a necessary duty when guests entered the home, due to dirt roads and wearing sandals. It was assigned to the lowest servant. What would be the equivalent of foot-washing today?
  • How would you feel about Jesus washing your feet?
  • We are to wash one another’s feet. What can we do for others that might be considered a lowly but necessary job?

For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. (Galatians 5:13 NLT)

  • What does it mean for you to have a calling to live in freedom?
  • How can you use your freedom as an opportunity for othering?
  • What does serving in love have to do with othering?

And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. (Ephesians 5:20-21 NLT)

  • When you have a thankful heart, embracing the gift of every good thing God has given you, how does it help you have a more servant-like attitude?
  • How does your reverence for Christ propel you to pursue othering?
  • What does it mean to submit to one another? It works fine when we mutually look after the needs of each other, but what happens when you initiate othering, but the others don’t reciprocate?

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. (Philippians 2:3 NLT)

  • When we pursue others, we have their needs, not ours, in mind. How can you put away selfish desires?
  • Why do we try to impress others? How can we change that motivation?
  • This passage suggests we need to be humble. Could this be the way we put aside a self-focus so we can show preferential treatment to others? What does this look like in a situation going on in your own life today?
  • What about when you believe someone isn’t better than you? When they don’t deserve preferential treatment? Then how do you pursue othering?

Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace. (1 Peter 4:9-10 NLT)

  • What is hospitality? How can you show hospitality to others? This verse suggests we do it without grumbling. What might motivate us to grumble when we try to be hospitable? How can we avoid grumbling?
  • We are blessed to be a blessing. What gift has God blessed you with? How can you use it to serve others?
  • Being a steward means we’re a caretaker of the belongings of the Master. How is serving others a way we can be good stewards?
  • The end of this verse shows us exactly the gift God has bestowed to us—His multi-faceted grace.

Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (I Peter 5:5b ESV)

  • How can you put on humility as if it was clothing?
  • What does humility toward one another look like?
  • Want more grace? Put on more humility. Complete this sentence: Today, I need more humility when I ______.
  • Arrogance is the antonym of humility. To put on humility, we need to remove: ego, sense of superiority, pride, overconfidence, self-importance, and condescension. In what area of your life is this a problem?

STEPS: See the Need/Be the Remedy

  1. Flip the switch. Instead of seeing how humiliating it is to serve, see it as a calling, and an act of thanksgiving for what God has given you—a behavior of worship.
  2. Humbled to serve. How can you lower yourself to the level of a servant to meet the need of someone today? Who will be the recipient of your service? How will you serve them?
  3. Offer the hospitality of grace. Put someone else at ease by extending the welcome mat of God’s love.

Copyright © 2017 Kathy Carlton Willis. Used by permission.

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