Category Archives: July

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.

Peril of serving God my way

David again gathered all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand. And David arose and went with all the people who were with him from Baale-judah to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the name of the LORD of hosts who sits enthroned on the cherubim. And they carried the ark of God on a new cart and brought it out of the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. And Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, were driving the new cart, with the ark of God, and Ahio went before the ark.

And David and all the house of Israel were making merry before the LORD, with songs and lyres and harps and tambourines and castanets and cymbals. And when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah, and God struck him down there because of his error, and he died there beside the ark of God. (2Sam.6:1-7)

Following the crowd or obeying God

It was the unchangeable law of God that the Ark of God’s Presence must be carried by the Levites on their shoulders (1Chr.15:15) until it was installed in the Jerusalem Temple. Before (Solomon’s) Temple was dedicated the Ark rested in the Tent or the Tabernacle wherever it was set up. But the transport of it was the sole responsibility of the consecrated (set apart) servants of God, the Levites.

When the Philistines conquered Israel, they carried away the Ark thinking it was Israel’s idol, like the ones they were worshipping. They thought having their ‘god’ in custody would give them power over their enemy. Israelites too had slipped spiritually to the level of equating the ‘box’ to the Almighty God. They were drifting away following the pagan nations around. They asked God for a king to rule them because they wanted to be like the other nations. They were forgetting the command that they should not follow the ways of the other peoples. Now they saw how the Philistines carried the Ark around in style, mounted on a cart, instead of being carried by people. They tried the same when they wanted to bring it back. Neither David nor the Levites cared to follow the instructions God had handed down to them as Law.They thought it OK to serve God their way.

Good intentions or God’s intentions

The Ark and the people were doing fine until the oxen stumbled and the cart shook. Uzzah reached out and held the box that it shouldn’t fall. But God was angry at that and smote him. Why?

First of all, God of the Bible, unlike many other gods, doesn’t require humans to protect Him, His possession, or His prestige. He can take care of Himself. Secondly, if someone wants to serve Him or His purposes, it has to be done His way. Good intentions are not sufficient but a total obedience. He is specific about the end as well as the means to the end.