Serve While You Suffer

The Wednesday feature of the Worldly Saints blog is a Scriptural meditation whereby I take a verse or passage I have been pondering lately and seek to edify my readers with it’s promises, encouragements, warnings, rebukes, etc.

Psalm 119:107-108 says, “I am afflicted very much; revive me, O LORD, according to Your word. Accept, I pray, the freewill offerings of my mouth, O LORD, and teach me Your judgments.”

Just a quick reminder about these “freewill offerings.” This offering was a gift presented out of the benevolence of the heart of the giver; it was not an obligation or to fulfill a promise or vow. The Israelites gave “freewill offerings” to help furnish and construct the Tabernacle in the wilderness (Exod 35:29, 36:3) and the 1st Temple (I Chron 29:5-9, 14) for the gifts for the supporting of the Temple service under King Hezekiah (II Chron. 36:14) and for contributions toward the building of the 2nd Temple in Jerusalem (Ezra 1:4).

The “freewill offerings” could be financial (e.g., property or currency) or food (e.g., grain, fruits, flour) or even an animal (e.g., dove). The point is not so much what is being given but the motive of the giver. It is something above and beyond what he normally gave. It is an offering that is done without compulsion.

The psalmist wants these to be accepted by God. He wants to sacrifice while he is suffering.

You get that? If there is ever a time when the flesh says, “It’s OK to focus on your self, it’s during moment like this.” The flesh wants to convince you that playing the woe-is-me card is acceptable during trials. But the psalmist doesn’t want to wallow in self-pity; he wants to be a blessing to others.

Charles Spurgeon had a tremendous amount of physical suffering in his life. It was so intense that there were times when he was unable to make it to his church’s services for months at a time. But his absence was not in vain.

Suffering LettersHe wrote them a series of letters that have been compiled in a little book today called The Suffering Letters. And as you read these short little letters to his congregation you can see he is more interested in serving them than wallowing in his own hurts. He wrote at one time,

“Those who are not working bees usually turn into dead flies, and spoil the sweetest ointments by the pot-full at a time. May no one in the church sink into such a wretched condition; far rather may we be so blest as to become blessings all around.”[1]

I hope you take this example seriously next time you suffer. One of the best remediates for suffering is to serve others. Serve when you suffer.

[1] From Charles Spurgeon in a letter addressed to his congregation from October 28, 1891.


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