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Prayer Tip: The Best Leaders are Followers First

June 18, 2023

Daily Scripture

Matthew 20:20-28; Ephesians 2:10

Matthew 20:20-28

Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to him with her sons, and kneeling before him, she asked a favour of him. And he said to her, ‘What do you want?’ She said to him, ‘Declare that these two sons of mine will sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.’ But Jesus answered, ‘You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?’ They said to him, ‘We are able.’ He said to them, ‘You will indeed drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left, this is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.’ When the ten heard it, they were angry with the two brothers. But Jesus called them to him and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.’

Ephesians 2:10

For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

Have you ever been doing something you enjoy, looked up and found that the time has flown by? For some of us this happens when we are baking, sewing, reading or running but sometimes this happens when a person is really engaged in any type of work. The psychological term for this mental focus, coined by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, is “flow.”

I believe that we can experience this state by finding the right service activity. Peter calls us to serve according to our gifts:

1 Peter 4:8-11: “Above all, show sincere love to each other, because love brings about the forgiveness of many sins. Open your homes to each other without complaining. And serve each other according to the gift each person has received, as good managers of God’s diverse gifts. Whoever speaks should do so as those who speak God’s word. Whoever serves should do so from the strength that God furnishes. Do this so that in everything God may be honored through Jesus Christ. To him be honor and power forever and always. Amen.”

When I serve in doing something analytical, like counting money, I don’t experience this state of bliss; but when I serve by greeting people or folding bulletins alongside friends, I often find myself in this state of “flow” and lose track of time. It brings me joy.

According to Zen Habits there are nine steps to achieving and benefiting from flow:

Choose work you love. (Let’s substitute “service” for “work.”)

Choose an important task.

Make sure it’s challenging, but not too hard.

Find your quiet, peak time.

Clear away distractions.

Learn to focus on that task for as long as possible.

Enjoy yourself.

Keep practicing.

Serving won’t always put us in flow. Sometimes a task will need to be done that isn’t our favorite or even unpleasant. However, if we find a project that we love, we will be more apt to continue in it and tap into the joy that comes from serving.

Take time this week to pray and reflect on some serve projects that have energized you. If you haven’t served before, begin thinking about your special gifts and talents and how you can put them to use in a serving capacity.

Dear Lord, thank you for the gift of a purpose in your world. Help us to find the place you have carved out for us to put our gifts and talents to the best use for the good of your people. Amen.


GPS Insights

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Ashly Cooley

Ashly has been on staff since 2015 and this is the best job she has ever had. She is passionate about serving the Lord, normalizing mental health care, and is a self proclaimed bibliophile. She enjoys spending time with her husband, daughter, extended family and friends as well as dancing badly and snuggling her dog, Bessie.

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Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.