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WHAT DID JESUS SAY ABOUT:
by Jim Foley
The words, “saved to serve”, are more than just a catchy theme. This phrase is the life work of Christianity. All mission work has at it’s root, service. It is the reason for the church as well as the mission of the church. If we examine the work of Jesus, we will find that among other things that his agenda for the disciples was progressive in nature. First he taught them, then he took them with him so that they might gain experience. Next he sent them on short missions to put into practice the things that they had learned. And finally, he dispatched them to the ends of the earth. This was all a training ground for the work to come, they were trained for service to God.
Salvation is the one prerequisite to service. To presume to serve God, who you don’t know or love is the ultimate hypocrisy, and will, in the end result in the appropriate response from God. “I know you not”.
In addition to salvation the servant of God must have a proper relationship to God. A proper relationship to God is a relationship rooted in faith, if our service is not of faith we are doomed to failure before we begin. The scripture says that whatsever is not of faith is sin. It is hard in todays world, to walk by faith, after all there are all those bills to pay, food to put on the table, clothes to buy, and of course there must be time and finances for recreation. Mat.6:30-34. Each servant of God faces the lure and demands of the world around him, but the world must take second place to the work of God. Joh 12:26. Mt 9:9. Mt 4:18-19. Mr 2:14. Lu 18:22. There was a time that has long since passed when a man would receive the call of God, stop what he was doing, and prepare to serve God. But that is the hard way, we have a problem with denying ourselves when we find out that God demands most of our time. When we look at the call of Elisha we see that when he was called he left all and then his preparation began, it was not the other way around. 1Ki.19:19-21. Christ taught that God must have first place in our lives, nothing must come before God.
The first great battle we will have to fight on the road to service is self. This is no small matter, it is probably the most difficult battle we will have. Before we can reach out and help others we must first get our own house in order. Mat.7:1-7. We cannot ask people to do what we say and not what we do, those that bear the vessels of the Lord must be clean. The order of the day is humility. Most of us have an inflated idea of our worth. Mat.23:8-11. This is why we like titles, diplomas and degrees, they are an affirmation of our position, recognition of what we have accomplished. When he spoke to his disciples about service, he used the Scribes and Pharisees as an illustration of how service should not be done. Mat23:4-7. We are the representitives of the God of Heaven, therefore our motive must be the glory of God, and our actions must reflect this. When the recognition of men comes it will be because God has lifted us up, and they will realize that we are of God. Mat.5:16. Mat.6:6. The principal and promise is clearly stated in Mat.23:12.
We can see here that a proper motive and proper service brings a Godly response in relation to our efforts. After all, God sees all that we do and say, so we know with a certainty that when we humble ourselves God will exhalt us. Part of our reward is that he will provide our every need if we will surrender our lives to him. Mat.10:9-10. Notice in Ver.9. That he sends them out by faith. And in Ver.10. we see that his plan is to provide for the physical needs of his people, through his people. God can, and will, provide through others whose sphere of service is different than ours.
It is not easy to live by faith, but God never said that it would be. The child of God must go from a life of depending on himself for all of his needs, to, depending on God and his people, this is a radical change and it cannot be done without faith. But some must be willing to go and this requires that some must be willing to support them. They may suffer persecution as many have, but this too has it’s rewards. The arena that they will serve in will be hostile to them and their God, and all the odds will be stacked against them. Satan will try to use their support or the lack of it as a tool against them, but God has promised and if we are walking by faith we have the victory. Mat.10:16-20.
Paul puts it in perspective in Rom.12:1. He calls it our reasonable service, something that is expected of us, God is not asking us to do anything other than our job as Christians. Jesus outlines it very well in Lk.17:7-10. Notice in Ver.10. that it says, “when ye have done these things”, it is then that the servant realizes that it is his duty and a thing that he ought to do. After he has done his duty he will consider himself “unprofitable” after all it is no big deal, nothing to boast about. It is talking about the signs of humility.
Jesus has set himself up as our example Lk.22:25-27. While the worldly men have their ways, God’s people are to be different Ver.26. If we have any doubt as to who is the greatest we have only to look at Jesus in Ver.27. Jesus lived a life of service, humility, and self denial such as no man ever could, but that does not mean that we should not strive for it. The command is there, the opportunity is there, the means to accomplish are at our disposal, and he has even taught us how to serve acceptably by his example. Will we?
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