<<one who serves>>
Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave – just as He did not come to be served, but to serve, and give His life as a ransom for many” (Mt 20:26-28). Jesus demonstrated this ‘servant heart’ attitude when He washed the disciple’s feet, and said, “I have set you an example…The servant is not above the master…Go and do likewise” – serving in any way to bring glory to God (Jn 13:4-17). If the Master was not exempt from serving, nor are we, so follow in His steps. Because He was secure in His own self-worth, as God’s son He was able to humble Himself (Phil 2:6-8).
All believers are ministers of the gospel of Christ
a beneficial outcome (Lk 12:16-21). “Where our treasure is, there our heart will be” (Mt 6:21). Where is my interest – being ‘Christ’ to the lost and hurting around me or living an insulated life unaffected by the needs of humanity?
Often hurting people’s perceived needs are entirely centred in the natural, physical realm of today and by meeting them, an opportunity is made to share the gospel that addresses both the physical values that may have contributed to the present situation but also the important spiritual issue of where they will spend eternity. When people see that Christianity is practical, meeting their physical ‘now’ needs they will be more inclined to embrace the unseen spiritual dimensions of their life (Mt 5:16; Jas 1:22, 2:14-26). This approach applies in all contexts, for as Christians we are to be known for our good works as love is practical, not just a sentimental feeling (Eph 2:10; Tit 2:14).
Ministering to others should not result in ongoing handouts, which create dependency, but rather a helping hand-up so they can effectively carry on without assistance, and in turn reach out to bless others. Such assistance should be impartial, based on the need and our ability to meet that need without any preferences to such things as ethnic origin, gender or social standing (Lk 10:30-37; Jas 2:1-9). We may consider we only minister to God in praise and worship, yet in fact we are ministering to Him when we serve people so “Keep your spiritual fervour, serving the Lord” (Mt 25:35-45; Rom 12:11).
Although it is more blessed to give than receive, don’t let the pride of self-sufficiency prevent you asking others to minister into your situation (Act 20:35; 2 Cor 8:12-14). Angels are also designated to minister to Christians (Heb 1:14).
A minister [of religion] is normally a formally ordained clergyman/woman or recognised church leader financially supported by the church while a lay minister is not fully ‘trained’ or is working at another job to provide for their expenses (termed ‘tent making’). God’s appointed ministers are motivators and coaches who equip God’s people for service (Eph 4:11,12). It is the responsibility of each Christian to do as Jesus did – reaching out to hurting humanity with the love of God (Mk 10:45; Jn 13:15; 1 Pet 4:10).
See also: good works, handout/hand-up, ministry, mission, missionaries, others, pastor/minister, servant/serving, stewardship, tent making.