Servant of God

On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. (Acts 16:13-15)

The title “servant of God” means different things to different people. It’s meaning varies from religion to religion. In the first century Church it assumed great significance and it was used to refer to those who were specifically appointed by God for His mission on earth. Unlike today’s servants, they went where God wanted them to go and did what God wanted them to do, instead of going wherever they want and doing whatever they feel like and claiming that they did it under the Spirit’s guidance. Today, servants of God are after power, position and wealth. They don’t behave like servants anymore. They take up titles like “Apostle”, “Patriarch”, “Arch Bishop” and so on, to show that they have a superior role in the service of God. They impress up on people that success in the service of God is measured by the size of the crowd he can pull.

Fruitfulness is better spelled “faithfulness”

The fruitfulness of a servant’s ministry is not measured in quantitative terms. Rather, it is a direct reflection of his faithfulness to God. On his second tour Paul wanted to go and preach in Asia. But it is recorded that God stopped him from going ahead with that plan. Instead, they were directed to the region of Macedonia. Only a servant who is aligned to the will of his Master can discern the promptings and signals of the Master. It looks like Lydia and family were the only people who responded to the Gospel in Philippi. But the reaction from the people of the city was about to open greater avenues for the furtherance of the Gospel in God’s sovereign plan. A servant need not worry about the results as long as he is following the Master’s instructions faithfully.

Effectiveness is evidenced by God’s intervention

Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her. (Acts 16:16-18)

Paul and Silas were greeted by someone who was the least expected to do so, a demon possessed slave girl who was a professional fortune-teller for her masters. A servant of God discerns the powers of wickedness waging war against the kingdom of his Master. His victory over such forces was established and endorsed by his Master’s death on the cross.  Here, Paul did not entertain free publicity from the enemy, rather, he puts an end to it in the name of Jesus.

The Gospel is the Good News not because it is endorced by the most powerful people in the world. It is the Good News not because it has the backing of celebrities. It is the Good News because it is God’s eternal Word that has the power to save. God does intervene in the ministry of His servant who is faithfully going about the task assigned to him. This heavenly intervention cuts through the barriers and establishes victory, bringing transformation in the lives of people.

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