|Robert Houk Hitchcock|
I John 3:2
Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
As born-again ones, we are sons of God now. We have a family relationship with the Father. We are sons of God and brothers and sisters in Christ. We have sonship rights and privileges. In our "vertical" relationship with God, we are sons of God. On the "horizontal", in the Body of believers, we are servants to our fellow believers and to the world.
But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, 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.
For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
Jesus Christ was THE SON OF GOD. If anyone would have qualified for being served, it would have been him. But his life was all about serving others. He came to give life and give it more than abundantly. He came to minister to others so that they could have life.
In the world's ways of doing things, the rulers and the top people exercise authority over the people. In God's Word, just the opposite is true. The greatest of leaders is to be the greatest of servants to others.
The word "minister" in verse 43 is the Greek word, diakonos (n) and in verse 45, diakonia (vb). Here are the definitions of these related words:
probably from an obsolete diako (to run on errands; compare 1377); an attendant
KJV-- deacon, minister, servant.
The origin of this word, diakonos, is one who "runs to serve." It is a servant as seen in activity. Jesus Christ was the ultimate diakonos to others in serving God's Word and giving his life a ransom for many.
to be a servant, an attendant, a domestic, to serve, wait upon
a) to minister to one, to render ministering offices
b) to wait at a table and to offer food and to drink to the guests; used of women preparing food
c) to minister, that is, supply food and necessities of life
1) to relieve one's necessities (for example, by collecting alms), to provide take care of, to distribute the things necessary to sustain life
2) to take care of the poor and the sick, who administer the office of a deacon
3) in Christian churches to serve as deacons
d) to minister
1) to attend to anything, that may serve another's interests
2) to minister a thing to one, to serve one or by supplying anything
The means of serving others is varied, isn't it? Well, of course, the needs that are to be served are many and varied. By looking at a few examples of those who served in God's Word, we can get a better of idea of what it is to serve others in the Body of Christ.
But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints.
For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem.
Paul was a servant seen in activity. He taught the Word of God. He ministered unto the people. He did whatever was needed to fill the needs at hand. In this case, he was "running to serve" by going to Jerusalem with the offering that had been collected for the saints there.
Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me.
Paul not only taught the Word of God, but he also ministered unto the people. In many places, he supported not only himself but others as well. He did whatever was needed so that he could teach them the Word. He did whatever was needed so that people could receive the Word that he taught.
1 Thessalonians 2:4-9
But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.
For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloke of covetousness; God is witness:
Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ.
But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children:
So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us.
For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God.
In Thessalonica, Paul was a servant to all. He lived what he taught. He taught them the Word and he worked also so that he would not be burdensome to others. He not only taught, but he imparted to them his own soul.
In his service, Paul laboured and travailed: he worked and put forth great effort in order to accomplish what was needed for the Thessalonican believers.
2 Corinthians 3:3
Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.
It takes both teaching and example to minister unto others. Paul taught the Word and lived the Word and served the people in any way that was needed.
1 Corinthians 3:5-7
Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?
I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.
So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.
We, as servants seen in activity, minister to others. We plant. We water. That takes work. That takes effort. That takes time. That takes planning. That takes arranging your life so that you have time and energy to serve. And, it is God who gives the increase to that labor.
The service rendered to God's people is that they might learn God's Word and grow up in that Word. This service takes many forms, but the heart of it is to bless God's people and to do whatever is needed to take care of His people.
I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea:
That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also.
Phebe was a wonderful believer. She served the church at Cenchrea. She took care of people. She was out there doing it. She is mentioned here in the Word of God! How about that! She really helped to move God's Word. How did she do that? She was a servant as seen in activity. She ran to serve. She took care of the needs of the church at Cenchrea. She must have looked to see what areas needed attending to, and then she got busy doing it.
But that ye also may know my affairs, and how I do, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things:
Tychicus was another wonderful believer, and a servant seen in activity. He brought news of Paul to the Ephesian believers while Paul was in prison. He is said to be a "beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord."
2 Corinthians 3:6
Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.
God has given all of the believers the ability to serve, to minister. We are able because of the gift of holy spirit. We can and should minister unto the needs of the believers.
If we are enabled, then we are enabled. No players sit on the bench, so to speak. From the youngest in the fellowship to the eldest, all have been enabled to serve one another. Fortunately, there are many ways of serving and many services to be rendered, so everyone is not doing the exact same thing. It is our enablement from God that has made us able ministers of His Word.
Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;
Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;
Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.
Whatever our function might be, we are to get busy doing it. We are to look for what is needed. We are to seek to serve. We are to notice what is going on and find ways to serve. We have the ability, and there certainly are needs. We just need to get busy and get after it. Run to serve.
Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
The proper order of relationship in the Body of Christ is God First, others second, and I'm willing to be third. The emphasis of the language in verse 4 is (to look) every man on the things of OTHERS ALSO. Of course we are to take heed unto ourselves and do what is needed in our lives, but we are looking on the THINGS OF OTHERS ALSO. We are LOOKING to serve. We are LOOKING for needs. We are LOOKING to help, to bless, to comfort, to exhort, to work, to be involved. We are LOOKING to run to serve others.
And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;
In our service, we are doing it not primarily for the people we are serving, but for the Lord. You can't ever be disappointed when you are serving the Lord Jesus Christ. Whatsoever we do, we do it heartily as to the Lord.
For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.
God is faithful to remember what you've ministered in
the Body of Christ and to the world. Some tasks may seem more important
than others may, but they are all of equal importance when they meet a
genuine need. Someone needs to teach. Someone needs to set
up. Someone needs to clean the meeting room. Someone needs
to witness to his or her friends. Someone needs to prepare the refreshments.
Someone needs to clean up. They all are needed and all are service
for God. We run to serve the bread of life and bless the Body of
© Copyright April 1999