Serve To Be Trusted, Trusted To Serve More

I don’t know what it is about sectional pastors’ meetings, but it seems like every time I go I end up with some challenging thoughts regarding servanthood and my life. This time, as I was playing keyboard for worship, I realized a reason why we serve. We serve to build trust. This is neither the ultimate reason nor the ultimate temporal goal. The ultimate reason is because He’s God and He has shown us His love and serving Him in any and every capacity is the least He deserves. Another reason is because we realize who we truly are without Him and His grace (“Serving God & Two Steps Away“). But another reason we serve is to build trust…with both man and God.

Luke 16:10-12 states:

Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with very much and whoever is dishonest with very little will be dishonest with very much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?

Now some people may say that passage is completely about money (and I do believe it concerns earthly finances), but the context and reality of those scriptures is all about serving and faithfulness. This is evident by what Jesus declares next – “no man can serve two masters”.

Jesus declares to the multitudes that we must show ourselves faithful in the earthly realm in order to inherit true eternal treasures. By living our lives now in the place of consistent faithfulness, we store up for ourselves glory and honor on that day. We gain our position (not salvation) in the end-time kingdom by making our lives like Christ’s – following the Sermon on the Mount, following the way of complete servanthood. The rewards we will receive in those days completely depend on our faithfulness now.

Likewise, we must show ourselves faithful in order to be trusted now. But the reward for our faithfulness now is not the same reward that we will receive from Him when He returns. The way God has set up His kingdom, both now and forever, is this: we serve to be trusted, and we’re trusted to serve more.

Jesus declares in Matthew 20:25-28:

…you know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave – just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Even as I was typing that scripture I realized that Jesus never said “before you become a leader or become known as great, first you must become a slave and serve for a little while”. No, Jesus declared that if one wants to be great in His kingdom, both in the temporal and eternal, they must sell themselves as a slave and serve others completely, for the rest of our lives.

In the western church, we have followed the ways of the world by believing that we start off serving in the lower positions and then we move up the corporate ladder where we can stop doing those things and do more “honorable” things. That is the complete opposite of what Jesus talks about. The greater you become in the kingdom, the more you serve and the harder you work. The more authority you are trusted with, the more you are trusted to serve and lose your life for those you are over. Jesus’ example in John 13 is that the greatest among us wash the most feet.

This is the reason He declares that in the end, when it’s all said and done, the meek (not the strong and forceful but the humble and serving) will inherit the earth. The highest positions in heaven will not be given to famous people who traveled the world showing their ministry. The highest positions (like kings of actual nations in the millennial kingdom) will be given to those who didn’t blow their own horn but instead gave their lives and rights up to serve others.

God is looking for those who will embrace the way of the cross, the way of servanthood and death, the way of unselfish devotion to God and others. He will reward them with eternal treasures and positions when He comes. In the meantime, He offers them greater ways to die and serve. That is why I serve. So that He can trust me more so that I can serve more, even unto death, knowing that “our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18).

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Wisdom That Comes From Above

i have been in an inward struggle in my conversations with people for the past few weeks. at times, i have been frustrated, bitter, angry, confused, concerned and even offended. i have tried to battle against all those ungodly emotions, but i haven’t got far. i am constantly remembering the scripture in james 1:20 where it says “let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger, for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness God requires”. but how does this apply when you feel your opinion is “from God” or is divine insight? i am realizing that many times, my anger is just frustrated pride (cause i think i now what’s right or i think i know what needs to be done).

recently another scripture in james has been resounding in my head:

Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. (james 3:13-18)

i long for divine wisdom (the “wisdom that comes from above”). james lists eight things that divine wisdom is:

  1. pure
    james starts off saying that divine wisdom doesn’t have secret motives. it is “FIRST pure” and innocent. many times i find that my “wisdom” is rooted in bitterness or “selfish ambition” (from the verse before) instead of being caring and compassionate.
  2. peaceable
    i am so glad that james puts “peaceable” near the top to the list! he combines “pure” with “peaceable” (“but the wisdom that comes from above is first pure, THEN peaceable…”). i realized that no matter how God-inspired my thoughts or opinions are, if they do not bring or keep the peace, then they are not totally pure and therefore it’s not true “divine wisdom”
  3. gentle
    this is such a tendency in an conversation to make little “stabs” against one another. if someone disagrees with you it’s easy to start making slightly rude remarks or start talking harshly. but divine wisdom always is “as wise as a serpent BUT as harmless as a dove”. it remains like Jesus…gentle as a lamb.
  4. open to reason
    even when God gives us divine wisdom concerning a situation, it does not mean the answer will solve the entirety of the situation. just because God says to be generous with your finances, it does not mean you should give away all your money. there are parts of the solution God gives to many people for a collective purpose (that is why there is “wisdom in a multitude of counselors”). we must remember that our “insight” is not the end all. we must be open to reason and allow others to bring their divine solutions into the conversation to join ours.
  5. full of mercy
    this is where humility is proven. when people resist you or are temporary blinded to the truth, divine wisdom’s response is mercy. it does not lash out. neither does it look at those temporarily blinded any different from those who understand. divine wisdom remembers that without divine revelation, we are all blinded and that there will be times that we will unknowingly be blinded by error until God opens our eyes. the merciful will receive mercy (matthew 5:7).
  6. full of good fruits
    i love this point. james states that divine wisdom bears good fruit. that is in all matter of time, both past, present and future. divine wisdom can be PROVEN as wisdom from glancing at history and one’s present life/example. it can be TRUSTED (because of the past and present) as wisdom in the future.
  7. impartial
    in chapter two, james talks about the evil of showing partiality. this is an important, but overlooked point many times. divine wisdom is impartial. if it applies to the situation or another person, it can be applied to any like situation and most importantly IT APPLIES TO YOU. many times we give others “divine wisdom” with taking it for ourselves. it must strike our hearts as well.
  8. sincere
    i have to admit that this is a hard one for me. i can be very sarcastic and cynical, but james says that divine wisdom is sincere. it’s heartfelt. it’s true to the nature of God. we must remember that God does not take sharing revelation lightly or as a joke. we are told in scripture that we will be held accountable for all we know and for all that has been told to us. divine wisdom realizes that there is a cost to hearing and sharing this wisdom with others (to both parties…the hearer and the speaker) and does not take it lightly.

i am setting my heart in the place of prayer for this “wisdom that comes from above”. i want these things birthed in me, starting with purity and peacefulness. i pray that God gives you (as well as myself) a “spirit (something deeper than carnal mind) of wisdom and revelation” (ephesians 1:17) that we can have, understand and speak forth the wisdom that truly “comes from above”.

what attribute of divine wisdom do you struggle with most? are the attributes of divine wisdom a progression, or are they individual traits that can be obtained separately? what areas do you need divine wisdom in? what keeps us from partaking in divine wisdom?