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Lessons from Luke (Three): While Serving

"Once when Zechariah's division was on duty and he was serving as priest before angel of the Lord appeared to him...the angel said to him: 'Do not be afraid Zechariah; your prayer has been heard.'"

(Luke 1:8-13 TNIV)

We continue our 'Summer Shorts' season following Jesus' teachings from the Gospel of Luke. Lesson Three focuses on Zechariah and the power of serving.

Reading: Luke 1: 8-17

Focus: Zechariah

One time recently, I was seeking God about my needs, when he lead me to Luke 1. Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth had a pressing need and sorrow: the absence of a child. In old age, their longing remained unfulfilled, until the opening scriptures of Luke, where we find this moment.

While serving in the temple as priest before God, an angel of the Lord appeared to Zechariah informing him not to be afraid, for the Lord had heard his prayer. The angel proceeds to foretell the future: that Zechariah's wife Elizabeth will bear a son, to be called John. This John will become John the Baptist: the prophet in the wilderness who prepares the way for the coming of the Lord. Wow!

I had been sensing in prayer that it was a time to bring my needs before God and to grapple with him there. I had also felt that when I do, the Lord will offer me a glimpse of my future - or how to pray over it. When I read this passage from Luke, I knew the Lord was confirming that sense to me: that to pray is power, that my prayers are heard and he is indeed prepared to share what he plans with me.

Yet I also noticed another message here: one I had not before. That it was while Zechariah was serving that God sent his angel to prophecy to his deepest need. Often, the answers we seek from God come not in the midst of our grappling, but in the simple task of living, when soft as a feather, his guidance falls. More potently still, Zechariah's experience offers a clear reflection of Jesus' words in Matthew 6:33 to seek first the kingdom and leave God to tend to our needs.

So the message from Luke today is:

  • Persist in prayer, for it works and as with Zechariah, God hears.

  • Trust him to offer you words and guidance that bring a glimpse of what he has planned for you, that you might grasp it, pray it and believe it, without fear.

  • Be faithful in serving him, giving of yourself to the kingdom and who knows where that might lead? Zechariah served despite his unmet needs and broken heart, a faithfulness rewarded by being entrusted to father John the Baptist, the prophet of the most high God.

Be encouraged today.

Further reading: Jeremiah 29:11, Luke 16:10 and Matthew 6: 19-34.

Copyright © Sharmila Meadows 2022

Scripture quotations taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, TODAY’S NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 2004 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Hodder & Stoughton Publishers, a division of Hodder Headline ltd. All rights reserved. “TNIV” is a registered trademark of International Bible Society.

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