To Serve, Not To Be Served

I have been reading Thabiti Anyabwile’s wonderful little book, ‘Finding Faithful Elders and Deacons’ recently.  It’s an important subject, particularly for a church like Rock which seeks to plant churches and so constantly be involved in identifying and training church members to be participate in the life of the church in various ways.

Commenting on the work of deacons, Anyabwile reflects a little on why the Apostle Paul specifies that candidates must have withstood testing before being appointed to that role (1 Tim 3:10):

“Serving in the local church not only brings joy, but from time to time it really tests the servant.  Serving others tests the depth of our love, the length of our patience, the quality of our endurance, and even the permanence of our joy.  Serving brings great rewards, but sometimes those rewards come gift-wrapped in trying situations.”

How true, not just of those appointed to serve the church as deacons, but all of us in the church.  Because of course the model of loving servanthood was first lived out before us by the Lord Jesus Christ himself:

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)