(🇬🇧 English translation of the blog post: Ben jij een dienstknecht van God?)
It is good to consider the first verse of the Romans letter.
Particular if you are in the ministry, preach the Word in your church, when you’re a leader or have another ministry in the body of Christ.
Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, [Romans 1:1 ESV]
I find the opening sentence of this great apostle to the believers in Rome impressive and contains a lot of depth.
What clearly stands out is that he sees himself first as a servant of Jesus Christ. I want to reflect on this in this blog.
In Greek, servant is ‘doulos’, literally translated: slave.
For the following reasons, I think it is important that we to see ourselves in the first place as servants of Jesus Christ:
- It is the task of a doulos to do the will of his lord. Jesus also calls himself a doulos because He was sent to do the will of the Father. 1
- It makes us realize that whatever we do in the kingdom of God, we serve King Jesus. Remember: if we try to please people, it costs us energy, but if we please God, we receive power.
- There is a big difference in perception and sense of responsibility if you are instructed by someone to serve coffee for people after a church service or if you see yourself a doulos who’s instructed by the King to serve coffee.
- It helps us to submit our thoughts and opinions to the will of God. He knows what is good for us to be able to bear much fruit in the ministry.
- It keeps us humble in the ministry, keeping us accountable and focused on the guidance of the Spirit.
- It prevents us from looking down on people. That you realize that no matter how big or important the ministry is in your eyes, you are a ‘doulos’. You are no more important than the other.
- You know that the blessings you receive in the ministry is because you are called to do His will.
The difference between a king and a slave is that the former possesses everything and the latter nothing, the king can give a large part of his possession to the slave to take care of as a steward. A slave can enjoy the confidence that the king has in him, but he is deeply aware that he must always be accountable to the king.
It is a great privilege to see yourself as a servant:
- You are going to take your calling seriously because you are under the authority of the great King.
- It motivates you to serve as well as possible because you know that the King sees it and pleases Him.
For example, if a slave received an order from the king to get him a glass of water, everyone in the palace is willing to help the slave because of the authority behind the order. You may also know that if God calls you to serve, the Kingdom of Heaven will cooperate.
- Every time you serve that is a spiritual growth moment because you walk in the footsteps of the great servant Jesus.
- I have learned that it is much easier doing ministry if you realize that it is your job to do the will of God. Instead of focusing on the expectations that people have of you, even of others in the ministry.
- A servant takes pleasure in the fact that he may serve regardless of position, task or ministry.
- The Bible teaches that the local church is built by servants. These two are inextricably linked together.
Someone who is in the ministry but thinks he does not need a local church has a wrong idea of the New Testament concept of “servant”. This person is not, in my opinion, a servant but someone who thinks he owns the gifts that God has given him, unfortunately we have enough examples of this in our country. Ministers who use the gospel for the benefit of themselves.
Because of the discussion among the disciples about position and who was the most important to God, Jesus called them and taught the following:
25 But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 26 It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, 28 even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” [Matthew 20:25-28 ESV]
Below are some heroes of faith from the early church and how they saw themselves in the ministry:
Timothy:1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons … [Philippians 1:1 ESV]
Epaphras:7 just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf … [Colossians 1:7 ESV, see also 4:12]
James, half brother of Jesus:1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion … [James 1:1 ESV]
Peter:1 Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ … [2 Peter 1:1 ESV]
Jude:1 Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James, To those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ … [Jude 1:1 ESV]
John:1 The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, … [Revelation 1:1 ESV]
Moses:3 And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, … [Revelation 15:3 ESV]
For each of them it was not position or prestige or own name that came first, but being a servant of God.
- [see Mat. 20:25-28] ↩︎