Thursday, November 02, 2006


We are discussing the fact that the church ministers. We who are the church serve. It is impossible to serve one another in the church as long as we think we are the ones who deserve to be served. Paul says a great deal about the importance of willingly and intentionally taking a position of humility in the church. For example, in Galatians 5:13 he says, “You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another in love.” There are some people who are gifted by God to serve in the church. You know who they are. They are always willing to lend a hand, give of their time, and do the work other people don’t really want to do. They are a great blessing to the church! But their presence does not excuse the rest of us from taking the position of servants! Serving does not come naturally to most of us. We prefer to be served! We prefer to do the things that will make us happy and satisfy us. But Paul is saying in effect, “Because you love one another you should not think about just doing what you feel like doing; you should take the part of a servant and minister to others!” This is almost the opposite of what so many churches advertise. Instead of teaching Christians to serve, they propose to cater to the desires of the people! This is what contributes to the attitude people have that the church exists “to meet my needs; the church exists to serve me!” We need to decide to serve one another. We need to humble ourselves and put the interests of others before our own.

Here’s another example: “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” (Ephesians 5:21) Do you think serving is difficult? Try submitting! This one really runs against our grain! Especially for those of us who are leaders in the church! The word literally means, “put oneself beneath.” Paul is saying that we need to humble ourselves by putting ourselves beneath others. Again, this is easier for some than it is for others. The best example of this has to be Jesus washing the feet of the disciples. He was their Lord and Master yet he chose to put himself beneath them. He intentionally took on the position of the lowest of household servants and washed the feet of the disciples. Then he said, “Now that I have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.” (John 13:14) That is why Paul tells us to put ourselves in a lower position “out of reverence for Christ!”

Not only are we called to serve one another by humbling ourselves to a lower position but we are to grant higher status to others. “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.” (Romans 12:10) Paul urges us to humble ourselves by giving a higher value to others than we do to ourselves. We are to have the same attitude Jesus had. Jesus did not seek honor so if we desire honor for ourselves then we are not being conformed to the likeness of Christ! If we desire honor for ourselves then we are not thinking of the welfare of the body of Christ. Think of it this way: If Jesus was physically present among us, how would we honor him? If we are to be like Jesus then we need to learn to honor the body of Christ as we would honor Jesus himself!


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