Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Third Day of Hanukkah - A Joyful Service Manifesto + Free Printable

The third night of Hanukkah is the night that focuses on Good Deeds.  Light and love continue to flow as "The Royal Law" is honored and celebrated...

What is this Royal Law? James 2:8 reveals the secret:

Yes indeed, it is good when you obey the royal law as found in the Scriptures: 
"Love your neighbor as yourself."
James 2:8 NLT

What we know commonly as the "Golden Rule" is a quote from Leviticus, a sacred law of royal love...

Love Your Neighbor
17'You shall not hate your fellow countryman in your heart; you may surely reprove your neighbor, but shall not incur sin because of him. 18'You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD. 
Leviticus 19:18

The Royal Law is important to God as it is repeated throughout the are just a few examples:
The Greatest Commandment
36"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?"37Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' 38"This is the great and foremost commandment. 39"The second is like it, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.' 40"On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets."

He answered, "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"

The commandments, "You shall not commit adultery," "You shall not murder," "You shall not steal," "You shall not covet," and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: "Love your neighbor as yourself."
For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: "Love your neighbor as yourself."
Galatians 5:14

 Hanukkah becomes the perfect time to demonstrate love to others, even (or especially) our own family.  Zola Levitt shares 8 levels of giving, each higher than the last (1):

1. to give grudgingly, reluctantly, or with regret;
2. to give less than one should, but with grace;
3. to give what one should, but only after being asked;
4. to give before one is asked; 
5. to give without knowing who will receive it, although the recipient knows the identity of the giver;
6. to give without making known one's identity;
7. to give so that neither giver nor receiver knows the identity of the other;
8. to help another to become self-supporting, means of a gift, a loan, or by finding employment for the one in need.

In these days of terrorism and refugees, I believe the Lord is issuing the challenge of the Royal Law, bringing it to the forefront of our minds once again:

'When a stranger resides with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong.
34'The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as the native among you, 
and you shall love him as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt; 
I am the LORD your God...
Leviticus 19:33-34

What might the Lord put on your heart to do for His children who are suffering?  What opportunities for service exist in your neighborhood, your church, your community?  Which of the "Eight Levels of Giving" might the Lord be leading you to use in your "Good Deed"?  Will you give an act of service? The gift of quality time?  Words of encouragement?  

Good Deeds for the Family
Tradition says that the priests would run to be the first to serve at the Temple.  They were full of joy and eager to begin their daily ministry to the Lord first and then to others.   We, too, are a royal priesthood - what might it look like if we eagerly and joyfully sprang into our duties on behalf of our family every day?

Consider adopting a personal manifesto (at least for the days of Hanukkah and maybe even through Christmas?) of joyful service.  Post a little card with this declaration in a prominent place to help remind you to return to a joyful attitude as the day progresses:

I promise to serve with joy 
while doing my daily duties, chores, and responsibilities.  
I will not complain, criticize or condemn anyone or anything.  
I promise to always look for the good, the pure, the true, the right, the lovely, the noble, the admirable, the excellent, the praiseworthy, in everything and in everyone.  
I commit to be considerate of others first.
Finally, here is a blessing to close your day of considering good deeds(3):

(1) Link is no longer active - 3/20/2017
(2) Link is no longer active - 3/20/2017
(3) Link is no longer active - 3/20/2017