Summary: A look at how Philip’s life was an example of uncommon service.
The Cure For The Common Life—Part 4
Jesus lived and breathed service. Jesus stooped to love. He bent over backward to concern himself with others’ needs. It doesn’t seem logical that God would choose service as the path to try to impact the world. Yet the most strident atheist has difficulty denying Christ’s impact; not just any man steps into history and splits time in two.
The bible teaches us that Jesus was equal with God. He was the ultimate object of praise in the universe that he created. Yet he chose the violence of the incarnation and the depths of his service take on astonishing dimensions. He voluntarily laid aside his divine prerogatives. The powerful creator of all things was born as a helpless baby in a dirty cow trough.
From there Jesus never stopped serving. He lived it and breathed it. The King of Kings became a bondservant.
With his life and death as a man, Jesus violated every tenet of the world’s system. The highest came to serve the lowest. The Creator came to serve the created. The one who possessed everything became nothing.
He lived and breathed serving right up to the last. When Jesus gathered his disciples for the Last Supper they were having trouble deciding who was the greatest among them. Whenever there is trouble over who is the greates, there is trouble over who is the least. That si the crux of the matter for us isn’t it? Most of us know we will never be the greatest, just don’t let me be the least.
Take ten chickens. Any ten. Put them in a pen together, and spreads a little chicken feed. In short order, you will witness an amazing phenomenon. In a matter of minutes, the chickens, previously strangers, will form a hierarchy based on dominance; or in everyday language, they will establish a pecking order. Instinctively they will determine, through a series of skirmishes, who the number one chicken will be; then the Number two and the number three; all the way down to the unlucky number ten chicken.
Much is at stake in the dance of domination. Chicken number one pecks at and intimidates chicken number two, without experiencing any kind of retribution from chicken number two. Chicken number two will take it from chicken number one but will turn around and peck away at chicken number three, who will then take out his frustration on chicken number four. The pecking order continues all the way down to miserable chicken number ten who lives a pretty miserable life. None of the disciples wants to be chicken number ten.
Gathered at the Passover fest, the disciples were keen aware that someone needed to fetch some water so everyone could wash their feet. The problem was that this chore was reserved for the least. So there they sat, feet caked with dirt. It was such a sore point that they not even going to talk about it. No one wanted to be considered the least. Then Jesus went after the water and a towel and he redefined greatness.
For three years Jesus had lived and breathed service with his followers watching every move. Having lived it out, he called them to the same thing, “If I then, your Lord and Teacher have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done.” John 13:14-15. This is one of the things that makes Jesus pop off the grayscale of history with living color. His path to greatness was the way of serving.
Jesus lived and breathed service. Eventually these men jockeying for position got it and they also became men who served. So much so, that it became a hall mark of the New Testament church.
Today we’re going to look at one of those early church members. We’re going to look at a person who’s portrait is full of beautiful color that distinguished him from his gray environment.
Philip’s Vital Stats:
Church Ministry Position: Deacon
Relatives: Four Daughters
Contemporaries: Stephen, Paul, the apostles
Life Motto: “If I’m breathing, I’m serving.”
PORTRAIT OF A MAN WHO LIVES AND BREATHES UNCOMMON SERVICE
He Breathes In the Spirit and Wisdom
Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them  and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word."
 This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. Acts 6:3-5 (NIV)
I need wisdom, but wisdom is not enough. I need revelation. I need to hear from God and be led by God every day. God will often speak to us in counter-intuitive ways. Sometimes what he says is decidedly UNWISE from a human perspective.