Summary: Two questions: 1) Who should be servants? 2) How are they to be servants? (Material adapted from Bob Tinsky's book, A Christian Is..., chapter 3, pgs. 41-49; and Rick Warren's book, A Purpose Driven Life, Day 33, pgs. 257- 264)
A minister was approached one Sunday by a man who expressed a desire to be a member of the church where he preached. In his conversation with the preacher he said: “I want you to understand that I am a very busy man and don’t want to be called on for any service such as committees, visitations, teaching in the Bible school or singing in the choir. I would like to be spared from anything that would require time. Then too, don’t expect me to be present for the worship services too often.” The minister thought for a moment and then replied: “You’re at the wrong church. The church you’re looking for is down the street a few blocks.” The man followed the preacher’s directions and soon came to an abandoned, boarded up, closed church. A church without active members is a dead church no matter how many are on the rolls.
Thesis: Two questions: 1) Who should be servants? 2) How are they to be servants?
Who should be servants?
Jesus is our servant, two pictures show us this:
1. Jesus bending to wash dirty feet at the Last Supper
“so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel round his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped round him.” “When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord’, and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” John 13:4, 5, 12-15
2. Jesus hanging on the cross, taking the punishment for our sins- “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”” Mark 10:45
Jesus washed the apostles’ feet and commanded them to do likewise, apostles are servants.
“For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like men condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to men. We are fools for Christ...” 1 Corinthians 4:9-10, NIV.
Because of their service, the church is “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.” Ephesians 2:20, NIV.
Elders are to be servants. “To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow-elder, a witness of Christ’s sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed: Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers--not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.” 1 Peter 5:1-3, NIV.
Deacons are to be servants. “Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.” 1 Timothy 3:13, NIV.
Every Christian is to be a servant.
Preachers, elders, and deacons are servants but our primary mission is not to do all the work of the church but to prepare God’s people (every Christian) to be servants. “It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fulness of Christ.” Ephesians 4:11-13
Far too many Christians are only concerned about themselves. This might happen, “No one from the church came to see me when I was sick.” Truth be told, they have never checked on one single sick person in the congregation. They have never been to the hospital to visit, or to the nursing home to make a call. Yet, when they are sick, everyone needs to make a beeline right to them. Some believe the preacher’s only job is to call on them, to make sure they are cared for. It’s as if they are the only people he has to be concerned with.