Jump Starts # 3141
Titus 1:1 “Paul, a bond-servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the faith of those chosen of God and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness”
There are several concepts, words and principles found in the Bible that are not a part of our culture. It is necessary that we put ourselves “back there” to fully understand what God wants us to be. Much too often, we try to bring the Bible up to our times, and we miss the concepts because of our culture and our times.
Our passage is one example of an expression that we don’t use outside of religious discussions. Paul referred to himself as a “bond-servant.” And, thus he was. This was not a negative. He wasn’t complaining. In fact, he was rather happy and proud to be such. Bond meant prisoner or chains. Paul, as he wrote this, was a captive of Rome. It wasn’t for crimes other than preaching Jesus. Servant is what he was. He served. He served God and he served others.
Now, in these times, most would do all that they could to be free from that description of a servant. That sounds demeaning, entry level, and definitely beneath the dignity of most people. We like to be served, not to serve. We want our every whim satisfied. We want people to come to our beckoning and calling. Pamper us. Feed us. Take care of us. That’s our times.
Now, some lessons for us:
First, the spirit of the N.T. is counter culture to the times we live in. We have to move past the thinking of today and embrace the thinking of God. The spirit of today is not what impresses God. Selfishness, sinfulness and self righteousness are the gods of today that most worship. Becoming a Christian involves much more than squeezing a little time for church services in your already busy schedule. Being a Christian is to rewire your thinking. It’s to see things from God’s perspective. It’s to deny yourself and elevate God. And, that simply doesn’t fit well with our times.
It is a challenge to get rid of the thinking of our culture and to put on a heart of Christ. The academic world, social media, the news outlet certainly feeds into the popular culture of today. This is why we must drink deeply from the word of God.
Second, there are some common characteristics to be a servant. First, one must understand what the master wants and then do those very things. The servant doesn’t do what he feels like. His role is to please his master. This work requires time, effort and foresight. The servant must be faithful and trustworthy.
In the parable of the talents, the master praised the two and five talent men. He said their work was “well done,” and, “faithful.” That’s what servants do. Paul was a servant of God. He was not on an ambition track to see how many people followed him, liked him, listened to him or were his friends. Have you noticed how some are interested in those things. Having a following means something to them. Paul was serving God. That’s where his attention was focused upon. Second, to be a servant one must be trustworthy and loyal. One can’t serve just when he feels like it. What happens when he doesn’t feel like it? He won’t show up. In prison or out of prison, among friends or among foes, Paul was determined to serve God. That’s what servants do.
Third, other words for servants are minister and deacon. Those are not titles, but descriptions. A painter is called a painter because he paints. A truck driver, because he drives a truck. A servant is called a servant because he serves. He serves others. In too many places today, elders are acting like deacons, the preacher is acting like a shepherd and the deacons aren’t doing anything. That’s completely upside down and inside out from the way the Lord wants things. Deacons serve. Shepherds lead. Preachers preach.
However, deacons are not the only servants found in a church. Paul was a bond-servant, but he wasn’t qualified to be a deacon in the technical sense. He was a servant. The congregation ought to be filled with dozens and dozens of servants. Some serve publically. Some serve behind the scenes. Some serve and everyone sees it. Some serve and no one knows about it. They do this out of love. They do this to make things better. They do this because it’s the right thing to do. They do this, because our Lord was a servant. He came not to be served, but to serve others. And, that’s exactly what He did. He made life better. He gave hope when things were dark. He extended forgiveness when it seemed impossible. Jesus came to do the work of God who sent Him.
Fourth, each of us have been given a task and a handful of talent from the Lord. Find your niche, what you are good at and develop that even more. Find a way to lift burdens, encourage hearts, build faith, and shine your light for the Lord. Let it be said that the church needs you because of the job that you do. Your job may be nothing more than opening doors or teaching a class, but it has value. Put a smile on your face and a shine on your shoes and quickly serve.
Don’t be discouraged because others won’t serve with you. They may be doing things that you are not aware of. Maybe they need to be taught to be a servant. Maybe they are waiting on you to start.
Paul was a bond-servant of God. That’s something he was proud to be. He was honored to be that. Your work in the kingdom will be the greatest and most eternal thing that you will ever do. You can change the eternal destiny of whole families. Long after our time here is finished, the steps and spirit of a servant that you left for others, very possibly will carry on.
A bond-servant of God. What a great expression.