Christian Service, Not Power!

By Rev. David Wilson Rogers |  August 2, 2014

            As people of faith, we rightfully seek God’s blessing and abundance. By virtue of the Cross and the loving sacrifice of Jesus Christ, scripture boldly sets us apart as a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, and God’s own people. As Christians, 1 Peter 2:9 is our call to live the blessing and opportunity of being chosen. The problem is, we do not always understand how that truly works.
            To many, the idea of being chosen by God rings with a tone of personal privilege, prominence, and power. This leads to horrific abuses of God’s blessing. Jesus spoke of this tragic problem in Matthew 20 when he compares true believers to oppressive Gentile leaders using power and privilege to control others. The prophet Micah preached against the abuse of power and lashed out at those religious authorities who used their position and privilege to tread on others. Much earlier in biblical history as the young prophet Samuel was coming into his dynamic ministry for God, he revealed that the opulence and abusive practices of the priest’s own sons would be punished by God. The opening chapters of 1 Samuel detail their perversion of God’s blessing and ultimate demise.
            In Jesus, blessing is not measured in material gain or personal power, privilege, and prestige. The genuine blessing of God is a one of service, sacrifice, and selfless living. “Whoever wishes to be great among you,” Jesus says in Matthew 20:26, “must be your servant.” It was a practice that Jesus modeled throughout his ministry as he constantly placed the needs of others over the desires he had for himself. Most notably, on the night when he was betrayed, Jesus took a towel and basin of water, dropped to his knees before each of his followers, and washed their feet. He was modeling God’s blessing and expressing godly humility.
After setting the standard in the opening verses of John 13, Jesus then issued a new commandment in John 13:34. “Love one another as I have loved you.” It was more than just a commandment to love. It was an invitation to accept the true blessing God has for each of us. As God’s chosen people, ours is to love as Jesus loved. Such love is borne in service, sacrifice, and selfless living. True privilege is serving. Genuine power is the ability to sacrifice.
The challenge for the church—both in the early days of the Christian faith as recorded in the New Testament, as well as the Christin faith throughout the world today—is to avoid the temptation to take our blessing in God as a means to control, dominate, or otherwise govern the world according to our own understanding of what is absolutely right.
Matthew 5:14-16 calls us the light by which the world may come to God and know the blessing which flows only from the heavenly throne. It recalls the prophetic vision revealed in the sacred covenant of scripture. As God’s own, we are to live in a way that draws the nations—all people—to God’s love. The third chapter of Colossians describes it in terms of putting on spiritual clothing expressing genuine compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, forgiveness, patience, and love. In similar terms, the fifth chapter of Galatians equates such holy and genuinely evangelical living as expressed in the fruits of the Spirit.
For all Christians who are serious about our love of God, our fidelity to Scripture, and our salvation in Jesus Christ, one of our biggest challenges is foregoing the desire to use our faith as means of controlling others or forcing our ways upon the world. Rather, following in the bold biblical witness and life of Jesus Christ, our blessing and abundance comes in lovingly serving, compassionately sacrificing, and humbly, selflessly living out of the Holy Spirit.