Christ, the Chief Servant
Service is a defining trait of the Christian. Biblical examples of the importance of servant hood in the Body of Christ provide the framework for the servant in the Church. However, you must remember that Jesus serves as the example of the Chief Servant. He gave up everything that He possessed to live and die as a man for mankind's redemption. While He lived, He served those that came to Him by healing their diseases and changing their lives. As you approach service in the Church, you must have as a foundation the example that Jesus set. Subsequently, you can also learn from other biblical accounts of how to have successful Christian service.
The Original Quest for Servants
The Book of Acts records the birth and rapid growth of the early Church. As the number of disciples grew, the number of people with needs grew accordingly. The apostles became overwhelmed with trying to fast, pray, teach, work miracles, and handle the other needs of all the people. In turn, some did not get their needs met.
And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. (Acts 6:1)
Some of the widows were overlooked in the daily distribution, which led to complaint and division among the people.
The apostles proposed a solution to their problem. Find individuals whom they could appoint to ensure that a particular segment of the widows was not neglected in the food distribution. From this we find the biblical standard for servants in the Church.
Regardless of the type of service, you perform in the Church; you must have these same qualifications if you desire effectiveness.
Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. (Acts 6:3 KJV)
The apostles listed three qualifications that the chosen servants should possess. From these verses, we discover (what I have termed) the holy trinity of servant hood. Anyone who serves and has a desire to serve in the Church should have these qualities. Moreover, anyone set apart to the Deacon’s ministry should have these traits also. Consider these as you prepare for and perform Christian service.
Qualification of Honest Report
The first qualification listed is that of an “honest report.” In simple terms, this refers to the reputation of those selected. It is important that anyone who is called to serve have a solid reputation among those who are served. This enhances the servant’s ability to minister effectively without rejection and undue criticism.
When you enter into any form of Christian service, make sure that you are known for your godly character and manner. As you serve, eyes will not only be upon your works, but upon your character. It is interesting to note that the apostles mentioned character before anointing in choosing servants. This reveals that the foundation for effective service is an individual’s character and not the anointing or wisdom an individual possesses.
Since character is important to your walk with Christ and your service in the kingdom of God, it has to be monitored and developed daily. A servant in the Church is first a servant of Christ. Therefore, your service has to be governed by the desire to please Christ, which is revealed in becoming more like Him.
Qualification of the Holy Ghost
After the apostles mentioned the need for the chosen servants to have a good reputation, they said that they should also be full of the Holy Ghost. Remember, they were choosing men to serve food. But, they did not want men serving, even in food distribution, without the Holy Ghost. They not only needed to be saved, but they needed to be FULL of the Holy Ghost.
In the Church, no one should perform any type of service among Christians without being full of the Holy Ghost. As you enter into your place in service, endeavor to remain full of the Holy Ghost.
The Holy Spirit has to be active in your life in Christian service. Servants need to be full of the Holy Ghost to effectively perform their duties. Paul admonished the Ephesian church to be filled with the Holy Spirit. His indwelling presence will keep your service fruitful and vibrant.
Qualification of Wisdom
The final qualification outlined by the apostles is that of wisdom. Wisdom is needed to handle challenging situations and difficult people. The selected servants would need wisdom, even in food distribution. Any situation involving more than one person will bring conflict; wisdom is needed to handle them. Consider the words of James:
But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. (James 3:17 KJV)
Servants need to be full of wisdom in their service in the Church. They need wisdom to employ the directives of leadership as well as interact with others.
Wisdom in Action
Where there is wisdom, the following things should be present:
1. Peace – James stated that godly wisdom is peaceable. It comes in peace and it produces peace in the situation. Your service should bring peace in the Church.
2. Gentle – When wisdom is present, you will operate in the nature of Christ. You will not be offensive in manner or dispensing of duties.
3. Easy Entreatment – Wisdom will cause you not to be stubborn. People should find it easy to approach you, even when there is conflicting opinions concerning a situation.
4. Mercy and Good Fruits – Wisdom will cause you to be merciful to others when they are in error or need restoration. Your interaction with others, through wisdom, should produce good fruits in the lives of others.
5. No Partiality – Those who serve should never do so “playing favorites.” When wisdom is present, it will cause an individual to be objective and fair in their dealings with others.
6. No Hypocrisy – In this instance, hypocrisy is referring to division. When one operates in the wisdom of God, it should not divide the Church or its members, but rather promote unity and solidarity among the people.
We understand that the apostles looked for qualified servants, even to distribute food. Those who serve need the same qualifications today. Remember that you are called to serve God’s people. Thus, it must be done with His character and nature and in subjection to leadership. With these things in mind, you will have enduring, beneficial service in the Church.
© 2013 Roderick Levi Evans
Reginald Boswell from Alabama on October 12, 2014:
Good article well written and on point however in my opinion Jesus image doesn't fit.