Author: Sam Crane
Humility in your Ministry By Sam Crane 7
“Suppose one of you had a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Would he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, ‘come along now and sit down and eat?’ Would he not rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink?’ 9Would he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? 10So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants, we have only done our duty.'”
This verse sounds a little harsh, doesn’t it? At least I thought so when I first read it. But the more I looked at the last verse the more I began to understand a little bit of it. I say, “I began to understand it,” but the Holy Spirit was the one who told me. At any rate, this verse is quickly becoming one of my favorites because it is so true!
What do we deserve? Fire and brimstone. What did we get? A savior who died for us, rose to life for us, sprinkled His Blood on the mercy seat for us, and is waiting in heaven for us! So, then, what right have we to complain about all the work we have to do?
Ministry is not work! It’s a duty and a privilege. God allows us to minister in His Name. He calls and commands us to minister in His Name. Let’s look a little deeper at this verse, shall we? mentions where the servant was working: “Plowing or looking after sheep.” What does that mean? These things to me represent ministry.
Plowing is the harvest field, which is evangelistic ministry, and looking after sheep would be in the church, discipling God’s children. Many people think that is where the real ministry is, or that that is where the ministry stays, but look at what the next verse says. After the servant has left the visible ministry arena, what does the Master tell him to do? “Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink.” How many people do you know who come into a worship service wanting to receive something for themselves? There is nothing wrong with that. I do that. But, what we should be focused on is what it is that God is going to receive from our worship. We do not worship for ourselves, after all, but for God to be glorified. That is what the servant does after leaving the public eye, though. He waits on his Master.
After that ministry is done, after thanking and praising the Lord, then the servant finally rests. If we’re craving meat and spiritual food constantly, how concerned are we on whether or not God gets any enjoyment out of our fellowship with Him. God wants our fellowship; that is why He made us. We do well to spend time with God just to spend time with our Father. can be very confusing when taken out of context, I suppose. But if you look at it like this: what we deserve versus what God deserves, and then it would be a lot easier to swallow. Would God thank us for doing something He has allowed us to do as a privilege, then commanded us to do? Finally, the servant, in all humility and selflessness says, ‘We are unworthy servants, we have only done our duty.’ And that is after his Master had apparently mistreated him! Don’t take this the wrong way! God obviously doesn’t mistreat us! He obviously does care about our praise and offerings to Him. But if we do ministry in any form for selfish reasons—it sounds SO simple just saying this but it should be taken very seriously—we do not please God.
The only person you should try to please is God, the only people you should help is everyone, and the only ones you should deny are yourself and Satan. For instance, one morning my church was having a citywide pastor’s breakfast meeting and I had volunteered to help out in the kitchen. I got up earlier than I was used to on a Saturday, went to the fellowship hall, and started cooking with my fellow volunteers.
I remained groggy throughout the morning but I had resolved to remain cheerful and maintain a servant’s heart in my work. It didn’t take long for everyone to finish eating, after which we were able to gather up the dishes and begin washing them as the breakfast meeting moved on from the breakfast to the meeting. Something my father always raised me to do is try to outwork the people around me, whether the boss is watching or not, because the real Master is always watching. So, there I was, outworking the guy next to me with a sponge as my weapon of choice when these thoughts welled up inside of me: “I’m working pretty hard, huh? I’m such a servant!”
Those were very pleasing thoughts for a moment, until the Holy Spirit began to convict my spirit and correct me! He told me how I was wrong instantly: If you have to call yourself a servant, you’re definitely not being a servant! I was certainly not being humble either! I was, even in such a little thing, comparing myself to another person. God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble, so when I set myself up in pride, I am basically setting myself up in competition with Almighty God. I can’t ever remember a time in history when that has worked. Pride always comes before the fall. As an example (and I can’t believe I’m telling you this) look at Hollywood! How many celebrities do you see who are just totally and completely full of themselves?
Now how many actors are getting thrown in jail for high profile crimes, getting sued for all kinds of things, and having their lives fall apart only to have it strewn across the media to their further embarrassment? Every time you check out in a grocery store you see how screwed up they are! Granted not every actor is like that, and not everything you see and hear about is the unfiltered truth, but doesn’t it make you wonder how a person could become so messed up? I’m sure right now you’re listing quite a few reasons in your head, but to me, one that sticks out the most is pride.
People are overthrowing themselves with their own pride. All sin seems to sprout from the root of pride. Lucifer fell from pride; that old devil! The serpent then used that same thing (pride wanting to be as God) to bait Adam and Eve in the garden. Even today, when we sin, it can be traced back to our pride. If I stole something, it’s because I wanted it for myself. Even if I were to steal it to feed my hungry children, I’d still be in pride because I wouldn’t trust God to provide food, I’d be convinced of how much better of a provider I am than God.
Do you see the madness in it?
It’s essentially a lack of trust in the One who gives me breath, and disbelief in the Word of God! It takes a degree of humility to submit to God, and it takes a degree of submission to trust. Faith and trust are the same thing many times. I’m not trying to make up any theologies here but we obviously need faith, trust and humility, don’t we? I guess the point of all this is to daily die to yourself, because you can’t be full of God if you’re full of yourself!
7 “Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’? 8 Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly, and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’? 9 Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? 10 So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’” (ESV)
7 “Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’? (ESV)
9 Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? (ESV)