Ephesians 4:11–13 ‘To equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.’ (vv12–13)
The word ‘service’ leads us to acknowledge that we are actually God’s servants on earth. Our model is Jesus, who came not to be served, but to serve (Matt. 20:28). This is challenging; seldom will we instinctively seek to become the least amongst our peers. This is not to be mistaken for being a victim or embracing low self-esteem. In fact, quite the opposite, for in God’s kingdom the least amongst us is the greatest (Luke 9:48). This is at odds with innumerable reality TV shows that seek to project individuals into the public arena to enjoy their fifteen minutes of fame, a phrase attributed to Andy Warhol, and which he claimed had come true with the rise of celebrity culture in the seventies.
In contrast, Jesus was the child of an unknown virgin, and grew up in Nazareth, an unremarkable village four miles from Galilee’s capital, Sepphoris. His birth was in a cowshed, He began life as a refugee, and He frequently requested that the supernatural signs that accompanied His ministry were kept quiet (Luke 5:14). The unremarkable background story of a servant, appreciated by God, even if executed on Jerusalem’s rubbish dump beyond the city walls.
While many chase self-realisation with the mistaken idea that this will provide happiness and fulfilment, in equipping God’s people for acts of service we are to concentrate on helping them discover the art of unremarkable service so that the remarkable generosity of God might shine through and offer a compelling witness to the gospel.
SCRIPTURE TO CONSIDER: Gen. 32:9–32; 1 Sam. 16:4–13; Luke 22:24–30; 1 Cor. 15:1–11.
AN ACTION TO TAKE: What does it take actively to live as the willing servant of all? How can we cultivate a humble heart and disposition?
A PRAYER TO MAKE: ‘Lord, may I recognise each day that I am least amongst the people of God. Amen.’