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Saturday, August 16, 1997

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St. Stephen of Hungary

Joshua 24:14-29
Psalm 16
Matthew 19:13-15

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service with a smile

"As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord." —Joshua 24:15

We are going to live and die serving someone or something. We do not have a choice whether to serve, but we can choose whom or what to serve (see Jos 24:15). If we don't choose to serve the Lord, we become a pawn of the evil one and are drafted into serving sin and death (see Rm 6:16). Therefore, the only way to freedom is to choose to serve the Lord.

To serve the Lord, however, we must choose to "serve Him completely and sincerely" (Jos 24:14). The Lord will not accept part-time, lukewarm servants. So we either give everything to the Lord or be co-opted into service for the kingdom of darkness. The only way to freedom is total commitment to Jesus.

Because of our selfishness, we may be disappointed by the fact that total slavery to Jesus is the only way to freedom. However, if we love Jesus, we wouldn't want it any other way. The Lord is doing us a favor by letting us serve Him. He is God. He can get along without us. Nonetheless, He wants us to love, serve, and live with Him forever. Therefore, "serve the Lord with gladness" (Ps 100:2).

Prayer:  Father, make me Christ-serving, not self-serving.

Promise:  "Jesus said, 'Let the children come to Me. Do not hinder them. The kingdom of God belongs to such as these.' And He laid His hands on their heads." —Mt 19:14-15

Praise:  Stephen was a ruler of a nation who led his people to Christ through his own prayer and fasting. He provided his people with many gifted preachers and teachers to build up their faith.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, February 1, 1997

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 4, 1997