Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Being a Servant

What does it mean to be a servant? Scripture makes it clear that the chief in the kingdom will be the servant of all (Mark 10:42-45; Luke 22:24-30; John 13:3-17). It should be noted that we are not called to serve an organization but to serve people. This is important because it is easy to focus on keeping the organization running. Now the organization is important because it enables us to help people. But sometimes we can see people as the cogs in the machinery to make our organization work. This is to get the whole thing backwards. Also, we can see serving as being involved in certain obvious positions, such as preacher or worship team leader. But God calls us to serve people in our own way and according to the way He has gifted us (1 Peter 4:10,11; Romans 12:3-8; 1 Corinthians 12:12-21). This means that the people who do things in the background can be as important as those who are prominent (1 Corinthians 12:22-25). That the people who encourage others behind the scenes or make repairs on the building or teach children or count the offering money or run the sound system are all important. This is what it means to be a servant: to take the work God has given you and to do it well.  

What, then, is involved in being a servant? It means putting others before ourselves (Philippians 2:3-11; Romans 12:10; Galatians 5:13). This involves not being concerned about our own things but being willing to put other’s things first . Now it does not help if we have convinced ourselves that the thing we are fighting for is our ministry. We can feel that by defending this thing that belongs to us we are serving God; we can be concerned for our thing over the things of others and feel justified in doing so. We are also told that love will cover a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8; Ephesians 4:1-6; Colossians 3:12-14). Now if the main thing we are interested in are our personal things, then we will be tempted to correct people for every fault when it interferes with our agenda. But while Scripture does tell us to correct sin (Galatians 6:1; Matthew 18:15-17; Hebrews 12:12,13), if we are acting as servants we will do this in the right way and only when it is needed. And most of all, if we are true servants we will give God the glory (1 Corinthians 10:31; Matthew 5:16; 1 Peter 4:11). For if we are looking for our own glory, we will receive nothing from God (Matthew 6:1-18). But it is always easy to fall into that mindset, that the important thing is whether we are praised or appreciated. Rather, we should focus on who we are serving, knowing it is from Him we will receive our reward (Romans 14:10-12; 2 Corinthians 5:10; 1 Corinthians 3:10-15).

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