Philippians 2:1-2 NIV

1 Therefore, if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 

Philippians 2:3-5 NIV

3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. 5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Philippians 2:6-8 NIV

6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!

Philippians 2:9-11 NIV

9 Therefore, God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Mark 10:42-45  NIV

42 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 43 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” 

Sirach 33:25-30 RSV

Set your slave to work, and you will find rest; leave his hands idle, and he will seek liberty. Yoke and thong will bow the neck, and for a wicked servant there are racks and tortures. Put him to work, that he may not be idle, for idleness teaches much evil.  Set him to work, as is fitting for him, and if he does not obey, make his fetters heavy. 

Mark 6:24  NIV

24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money

Matthew 10:24-25 NIV

24 “The student is not above the teacher, nor a servant above his master. 25 It is enough for students to be like their teachers, and servants like their masters. 

In Your Presence, God, we light the first candle of Advent.

Today we ponder Joseph, the unassuming man who quietly stands in our nativity sets but who God asked to serve a purpose greater than his earthly legacy:

“Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:20-21)

Although Scripture doesn’t record Joseph’s words, we see him respond to God’s request in humble service. Joseph gave himself over to father a Son whose beginning mystified and whose ending confounded. This Advent, we also choose to serve a purpose greater than our own existence and understanding:

Father God, as followers of Jesus—the Son of Joseph and the greatest Servant of all—we receive the salvation Jesus offers us through His life, death, and resurrection. In return, we will lay down our lives so that others might know Him. Amen.

This Week

Looking through the Gospels, how do you see Jesus serving others? What was His greatest act of service? How do you think the life of His earthly father, Joseph, helped develop a posture and attitude of service in Jesus? How is the life of Jesus forming your life for service to others?

Create space as an individual or family this week to walk or drive around your neighborhood, being present in the moment. Look for an opportunity to help a neighbor who is cleaning his or her yard, taking in groceries, putting up Christmas lights, etc. Or, connect with Youth For Tomorrow to volunteer to wrap presents for families in need (703.368.7995).