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Servitude

Serving God has never been well understood as everyone seems to have their own conception about it. It has not been well understood in Jesus time and it is not in our days. We all use the same Bible but yet come up with our own interpretations and ideas. For certain people, serving God is about position, power, money, prestige. For others, it is a religious activity or social gathering to make us feel good about ourselves or our accomplishments in life. For some others, it is just a familiar tradition. However an examination of Jesus’ teaching and the lessons left for us reveals an all-new angle and forces us to reconsider our position. Maybe is it the reason why, he went unto his own “and his own received him not.”

Jesus’ teachings seem to have always been in opposition to the tradition of the fathers or the general consensus. See how many times he mentioned in Matthew 5, “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time… ” “But I say unto you…” His mission was to show the new way to the Father and often times we just disregard what he had to teach because it did not fit our own agenda. Let us consider for example the way we serve God.

To many people, serving God implies feeling good all the time and indulging in activities that please us or put us in a position of preeminence. However, Jesus own words differ from that concept. It suggests instead a spirit of servitude, a dedication that reaches the level of self-sacrifice. In Mark 10: 42-45, he said to his disciples, “Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them: and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you shall be your minister: and whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.”

The word “minister” here should be understood as “servant”, “someone who runs on errands” or is “a waiter – at table or other servile or domestic duties.” For many, a minister or a student minister in church today is a person in a prestigious position when in fact he is a servant or simply someone studying to learn how to become a servant. We all can be servers but it takes a special training in the things of God to become a biblical servant.

Jesus continued with his teaching by taking himself as an example: “For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” And this was such an important lesson that Jesus reiterated it to his disciples at the last supper. After eating, he laid aside his garments and took a towel and girded himself. After that he poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded. (John 13:4-5). Once he completed his task, he sat down again and said unto them: “Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.”

Jesus’ style of teaching was to use parables to demonstrate a point. I know that this scene has been reenacted in the natural by many in an effort to absorb the lesson that Jesus was giving here. And I do not fault anyone for that. But I believe that there is more than that in our relationship as ministers dealing with the saints of God. It takes a great deal of humility and patience to help people in their own beliefs, their philosophy and conviction and bring them to a better understanding of the knowledge of God. Feet in the Bible deal with our understanding. Jesus had to convince Peter that only his feet needed to be clean and not his hands or his head.

Then he concluded: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, the servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.” The Greek root of the word “servant” here goes even deeper than the word minister and implies more servitude as in the condition of “a slave”, “a bondman”. Therefore serving God implies learning how to be a minister, a servant to God’s people as Jesus was to his disciples. As saints of God today, we have the opportunity to develop that spirit of servitude by our involvement in every activity or department of the church where we can learn how to interact one with another and live the true gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Blessed be His name!

Dr. Joel Hilaire
Pastor of Orlando Gospel Assembly

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