The Calling of a Servant
By Ron Marinari
Mar. 10, 2013
Living as a servant is everyone’s calling. Service to God and other people yields the highest rewards that heaven holds.
When Jesus verbalized His appreciation with how a faithful servant behaved, He said,
“Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord” (Matthew 25:23, KJV).
Servant-like people level the playing field. They can be of any gender, color, race or age. They are the busy saints who don’t have time or space to complain. Radical servants don’t wait for other people to meet the need; they roll up their sleeves and do it themselves.
Servant-like people can astound you. They jump right into things. They refuse to allow life’s trials to interrupt their calling to faithfulness. They have an innate ability to see past their current adversities and serve where the need is. They have a deep degree of commitment to take on the tasks of other people. So deep, that it frequently dwarfs the gifts of others. Not in a self-righteous or deliberate way, but it simply just stands alone and speaks for itself.
All of us are called to be servants to one another, and to some degree, we are. We should be. No matter what vocation we find ourselves in, we should develop the characteristics of a servant.
While most of us will accept the ordinary invitations to serve one another, called servants stand in a class by themselves. Whatever the occasion, they are ordinarily the first ones to arrive and the last ones to leave, serving the entire time.
Kindling vs. logs
I have often compared servants to large logs in a fire. When we set out to build a bonfire, traditionally we need three very basic things: kindling, large logs and fire. Kindling is absolutely necessary. Without some type of kindling, the large logs will stare at you and laugh in your face. They will be virtually impossible to light.
However, when the kindling is lit first, its fire becomes contagious and soon ignites the larger logs. Within moments, the kindling is gone, but the large logs will burn long and bright. Once the fire is ablaze, it’s the large logs that hold the heat; the kindling wood now has become unnecessary.
Called servants burn like those logs. They give us light and warmth, when all the others burn out and quickly disappear. They are unique to the body of Christ.
Servants usually don’t have to be taught to burn this way; it comes as a natural desire. They serve both within the house of God and beyond. They are many times found in the remote areas of life, burning warm and bright. I’ve been fortunate to be exposed to these types of servants, both in and out of the local church.
The calling to God’s house, as a servant, has been restructured throughout the ages. In the Old Testament, the tabernacle of Moses would serve as the first corporate setting for the tribes of Israel to gather and administer worship and service to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
The Hebrew word for tabernacle is ohel, which means tent, habitation, dwelling, tabernacle or home. Moses said, “I will prepare him an habitation” (Exodus 15:2).
God still seeks a habitation and still dwells among a people who are making a habitation for Him.
Servants vs. slaves
But to be fair and balanced, like God, a called servant is not confined to the local church. Certainly, servants must make the church a regular place of their presence, but they must also obey God’s promptings to work in the field of harvest wherever that field may be.
It is in the field and serving under the harshest circumstances that you will notice a key difference between a willing servant and an unwilling slave. No servant will be found frowning. A smile from ear to ear characterizes those believers who place the joy of serving others before themselves. They are totally in their element, soaking in the bliss of their calling. They know the reality of their calling, and the joy it brings to the Caller.
Servants to the poor and needy
Several years ago, when a group from the church I pastor visited Assisi, Italy, we went to the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi. His example continues to influence my life and ministry.
Francis was the son of a wealthy cloth merchant in Assisi, and he lived the extravagant life typical of a wealthy young man. While going off to war in 1204, Francis had a vision that directed him back to Assisi, where he lost his taste for his worldly life. Francis returned home, began preaching on the streets, and soon amassed a loyal following. His life today serves as an example to many people of the calling away from worldly riches and the calling toward the impoverished and the poor.
Servants to the helpless and aged
The call of a servant can be found anywhere in this complicated world in which we live, even among your own family.
Whether you are called to be a servant to God’s people within His house or a caregiver to the sickly or poor, be obedient and heed the calling of God to serve. Whatever the case may be, the calling of a servant is found on the top of God’s list.
To be a servant does involve sacrifice. And those who benefit from our service may not always offer thanks. But when God examines the works of our hands, His reward will encompass eternity.
“Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak: for your work shall be rewarded” (2 Chronicles 15:7).
From The Calling by Ron Marinari (2012), www.ronmarinari.com. Excerpted with permission.
RON MARINARI is the founder and senior pastor of Church of the Hills (Assemblies of God) in Bedminster, N.J.
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