Echoes of Grace

I love to hike. And here in Arizona we have a lot of canyons where a person can travel up a stream. There’s just something about water and trees in a desert.

But the other thing I love about canyons is the way the sound moves through them — the sound of birds singing, the rush of the wind, the bubbling of the creek.

And the echo of my voice. I almost always give a couple shouts in the canyon, just to hear what it sounds like for the sound of my own voice to bounce back at me from the canyon walls.

(I know. One of you is surely going to say, “I always knew Jeff loved the sound of his own voice!”)

What got me to thinking about echoes today was this verse: Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:26-28, NIV).

As Christians, our call to greatness is a call to serve and sacrifice self, Jesus tells us. And then he goes on to tell us something critically important. Our service is really nothing more than an echo of Jesus’ service toward us.

Jesus gave his life for me, so I will — as I’m energized by his grace and self-sacrifice — become the servant he calls me to be. It’s as if the voice of Jesus bounces of the walls of our hearts to resound into the hearts of others.

Love begets love. Service inspires service. Self-sacrifice arouses self-sacrifice.

Jesus first. Us second, as echoes of his grace.

Lord, may I always echo your gracious “first-love” for me. I desire to serve you and my neighbor. I cannot do this on my own. So, may your heart of love, service and sacrifice simply echo through me to others, and bring all the glory to you!

Our Bible reading for Friday, January 30, is Job 15:1 – 18:21, Matthew 20:20-34 and Psalm 17:13-15.

Header image based on "Verde Canyon Railroad" by sfbaywalk, CC by 2.0

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I'm married to my beautiful wife Julie and have five kids whose names all begin with the letter A. I'm a pastor at CrossWalk Church in Phoenix, AZ. I love Jesus, my wife, my kids, and my grandkids. Huge Arizona Cardinals fan! Reading, hiking, camping, travel, and fishing are my top 5 downtime pleasures.

One thought on “Echoes of Grace”

  1. Our Bible reading for Friday, January 30, is Job 15:1 – 18:21, Matthew 20:20-34 and Psalm 17:13-15.

    “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?” “We can,” they answered. (‭Matthew‬ ‭20‬:‭22‬ NIV)
    Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.” (‭Matthew‬ ‭20‬:‭23‬ NIV)

    Heavenly Father, I long to drink from your cup. I so look forward to be with you in heaven. When the day comes for you to call me home I look forward to meeting you with arms wide open. Please continue to give the blessings that you give everyday. Please look over everyone I love as they await your return.

    As for me, I will be vindicated and will see your face; when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness. (‭Psalm‬ ‭17‬:‭15‬ NIV)

    ~Paul Montenieri


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