459. Choosing The Place Of Service — Or Not

“I was reading in Mark’s gospel again this morning,” Stan began, “about the fellow who is described as Simon of Cyrene.”

“I’m not real familiar with him,” I responded.

“It seems that he was in Jerusalem when Jesus was being crucified,” Stan replied.  “As Jesus was being led away, carrying the cross, this Simon fellow was in the crowd watching.”

Continuing, Stan said, “Apparently, Jesus was having difficulty carrying the cross.  It seems that He had lost a lot of strength from all that had been done to Him up to that point.”

“That’s certainly understandable,” I replied. “He had been through a terrible ordeal.”

“You’re right about that, my friend,” Stan said. “And all He did and went through was for us.”

Continuing, Stan said, “Mark’s gospel records that Simon was ‘pressed into service’ to carry the cross,” Stan continued.  “To me, this suggests that he did not volunteer.  He did not step forward on his own and say that he would carry the cross for Jesus.”

“Even so,” Stan added, “Simon became an important part of God’s plan of salvation through Jesus’ going to the cross.  Simon was in the right place at the right time to be used by God.  That is the lesson for me in this account.”

“Right place; right time,” I repeated.  “How can a person know that?” 

“For me,” Stan replied, “it is all about being open to the leading of the Holy Spirit.  I am to be ready for whatever God has for me to do.  I am to be prepared to be placed into service for God by knowing beyond a shadow of doubt that God is in the business of engineering circumstances to make available opportunities to serve Him for His purposes.”

Continuing, Stan said, “If I only do what I want to do for God, if I choose the place of my service, rather than allowing Him to place me into His service,  I think I will have missed the mark of what God has for me to be and what He has for me to do.”

“No,” Stan concluded, “ I don’t think I am to choose the place of my service.  I am to be open to God’s leading to put me into His service.  Whatever the cost and whatever the direction.  It’s up to Him, not me.” 

“Simon of Cyrene,” Stan concluded, “got to take up Jesus’ cross.  He may not have volunteered for it, but he had a choice. He could have said, ‘No way’, and suffered the consequences, but he chose to do it and became a part of history for all time. His choosing to obey is what is important to me.”

Concluding, he said, “As the second step in being a disciple, I am to take up my cross in obedience to what God has for me to take up. This is to occur after the first step of denying self, and before the third step of following Him.”

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And they pressed into service a passerby coming from the country, Simon of Cyrene (the father of Alexander and Rufus), that he might bear His cross.  Mark 15:21.

Prayer:  Thank you, Father, that you want to use me for your purposes.  I confess that too often I am reluctant to do what you have for me to do, along with failing to be who you want me to be.  That happens because I choose to do what I want to do, and I chose to be who I want to be apart from you, rather than following your choice.  Please forgive me.  And please, Father, help me in following your lead, wherever you have for me to go to do whatever you have for me to do.  Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

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Things to think (and journal) about:

1.  What is your biggest take-away from this devotional?

2.  What does this devotional say about God and about us as His people?

3.  What is God saying to you to do personally?

4.  Who can you share this with to make a difference?

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Comments, questions, suggestions, and the like can be addressed to The Storyteller at: waiting4thetrain@gmail.com.

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