Yesterday Norma Jean and I worshiped with the brethren in Cosby, Tennessee, and I preached for them at the morning service. It was a pleasure to fellowship with these fine folks again.
Olie Williamson has labored with this church for over 20 years. He and his sweet wife, Mary have done a good work at Cosby. And the current state of the congregation is evidence of his patience, preaching and Bible teaching.
Olie is 86, but he is active and energetic. He loves the Lord. Loves the brethren at Cosby. And loves the Truth. We have been recipients of their hospitality or more than one occasion. And appreciate their kindness and fellowship.
Like so many we have met over the past several months, Olie and Mary characterize what it means to be true servants of Christ. Working with a small congregation. Sharing their lives. And laboring in obscurity, by the world’s standards.
Folks like them understand the meaning of Jesus’ admonition to the disciples in Matthew 20:25-28.
“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave — just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Jesus is the ultimate example of servant-hood. The Bible calls Him a “holy servant” and a “suffering servant. “He went about doing good.” He humbled himself. Ministered to the downtrodden and lowly. He interacted with sinners. Healed lepers. Washed feet. And gave hope to the hopeless.
To be a servant is to be a helper. To be a friend. To be an encourager. Servants really cares. Demonstrate concern. And show compassion. They are others focused.
By their nature, a servant is selfless. Unassuming. And self-sacrificing. Servants know their purpose and understand that life is not about getting but giving. While I don’t agree with all of his theology, author Rick Warren was right when he wrote, “You were put here to make a contribution. You weren’t created to consume resources—to eat, breathe, and take up space. God designed you to make a difference with your life…You were created to add to life on earth, not just to take from it. God wants you to give something back.”
The multi-talented Albert Schweitzer was a theologian, philosopher, and physician. But most of all he was known as a humanitarian who knew the meaning of servanthood. On one occasion, speaking to a graduation audience, he advised, “I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve.”
Happiness, of course, is a byproduct of service. Like so many worthwhile things in life, it is the Serendipity of a nobler pursuit. In fact, service produces something deeper and greater than happiness, an internal and eternal joy.
As Christians, we are saved to serve. Called to serve. And commanded to serve. Indeed we were created in Christ Jesus for good works (Eph 2:10).
Having reached the Biblical three-score and ten years, I am reminded daily of the transitory nature of life. Our time is short. But our opportunities are endless.
As James Dobson encouraged, “If we fully comprehended the brevity of life, our greatest desire would be to please God and to serve one another.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman