It is sad that people want authority over others. They want to exert their influence. They want to be treated as lords. This is their way of seeking greatness. The Lord Jesus had another formula.
“…You know that those who are supposed to rule over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of man also came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:42-45).
To seek honour and fame in the world, to desire to be recognized by the world, is a tragic thing for a child of the Kingdom. To seek to be honoured by the church, to seek the chief position among the children of God, is even more evil. All such people cannot bear fruit that abides.
It is said of the Lord Jesus that He emptied Himself (of all the glory and power that He had in heaven) and took upon Himself the form of a slave and became obedient unto death in serving a lost, broken, undeserving, and ungrateful humanity. Anyone who wants to bear abundant and abiding fruit must follow His example. All else will only produce wood, hay and stubble.
A servant evangelist sees the people’s separation from God. He does not complain about it. He does not criticize. He does not expose their weaknesses, faults and failures. He does not show them how much better than they he is. His heart goes out to them. There is one cry in his heart and that is, “How can I serve them?” How can I be a part of God’s rescue team to them? In that spirit he goes to them. They may speak evil of him. He will speak well of them. If they are slow of understanding or bound by one sin or the other, he will not discuss their degradation with other people. Rather, he will turn to the Lord and, like Moses of old, plead with God, saying,
“…Alas, this people have sinned a great sin; they have made for themselves gods of gold. But now, if thou wilt forgive their sin–and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written” (Exodus 32:31–32).
He will continue to plead with God to change the heart of the people, and he will continue to plead with the people to change their hearts God-ward. He will feel deep pain as the people resist the move of God. He will also experience great joy as they repent and turn to God. By this standard, there are very very few evangelists in the world today.
So the servant seeks to serve and gives of himself. It does not matter to the servant if he is appreciated or not. He never feels insulted because he never seeks honour. If his services are rejected, he pleads that they be accepted and labours to improve what he has to offer, so that it may be better accepted.
A servant prepares well in order to serve efficiently. Jesus spent thirty years in silent preparation before He came to the public. The servant must be filled with the Holy Spirit. Nothing else can compensate for this lack. Today, we see so much in the work that can be attributed
- to advanced technology,
- proper planning,
- hard work,
- and all other things.
However, we hardly see that which can truly be attributed to the Holy Spirit. Let me ask you a question, “Would the work you are doing for God continue if the Holy Spirit withdrew Himself from it? Could it be that He has long withdrawn Himself but you have continued on the strength of the establishment and routine of the past?” Seek the Lord about this matter and do not rest until you have heard His verdict. If you continue without the manifest presence of the Holy Spirit, your work will result in wood, hay and stubble. What the Holy Spirit does lasts. It cannot be overthrown.
The Lord Jesus was anxious that all the work should produce abundant and abiding fruit. He knew that there was no way to this that left aside the need for the Spirit-filled life. He demonstrated it in His own life; for He did not start His public ministry until the Holy Spirit had come upon Him at the Jordan. He was then led unto the forty day fast after which He
“returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee, and a report concerning him went out through all the surrounding country” (Luke 4:14).
He also insisted that the disciples should not start the work of world conquest until they had been filled with the Holy Spirit. He said to them,
“Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:46-49).
The power from on high as an initial experience, and as a continuing experience is indispensable to being a servant. Anyone who has never been baptized into the Holy Spirit and who is not currently filled with the Holy Spirit, cannot serve God. All that he does is scattering. He cannot gather. Sin and self stand in the way of being filled with the Holy Spirit. None who are imprisoned in one way or the other with sin or self, can bear fruit that abides. They may be gifted. They may have a lot of helpful attributes, but their fruit will not mature. It is the work of men’s imagination and craftiness or ingenuity of heart. It is absolutely useless for God.
So, a servant who has been filled with the Holy Spirit, is being filled with the Holy Spirit and is being led and ruled by the Holy Spirit, will bear the quality and the quantity of fruit that will meet the full approval of God. All others labour in vain.