by Charles R. Swindoll
I'll be honest; I am not very concerned about which form of church government your church may embrace. However, I am immensely interested that everyone involved in that ministry (whether a leader or not) sees herself or himself as one who serves . . . and one who gives.
It's the attitude that is most important.
Perhaps the finest model, other than Christ Himself, was that young Jew from Tarsus who was radically transformed from a strong-willed official in Judaism to a bond servant of Jesus Christ—Paul. What a remarkable change, what a remarkable man!
It's possible you have the notion that the apostle Paul rammed his way through life like a fully loaded battleship at sea. Blasting and pounding toward objectives, he was just too important to worry about the "little people" or those who got in his way. After all, he was Paul!
I must confess that caricature is not too far removed from my original impression of the man in my early years as a Christian. He was, in my mind, the blend of a Christian John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, and a Marine Corps drill instructor. I mean—Sir, yes sir!—he got things done!
But that false impression began to fade when I made an in-depth study of Paul—his style, his own self-description, even his comments to various churches and people as he wrote to each one. I discovered that the man I had thought was the prima donna par excellence considered himself quite the contrary. Almost without exception, he began every piece of correspondence with words to this effect: "Paul, a servant . . ." or "Paul, a bond-slave. . . ."
The more I pondered those words, the deeper they penetrated. This man—the one who certainly could have expected preferential treatment or demanded a high-and-mighty role of authority over others—referred to himself most often as a "servant" of God (see 2 Corinthians 4:5). Amazing. He was indeed an apostle, but he conducted himself and carried himself as a servant.
I find this extremely refreshing. What a model Paul was.
Reprinted by permission. Day by Day, Charles Swindoll, July 2005, Thomas Nelson, inc., Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved. Purchase "Day by Day" here.