“You should think of us as Christ’s servants”.
1 Cor 4:1 GNB
One of the many weaknesses that have manifested themselves from time to time in the Christian community has been the tendency for it to become a vast system of organizations and clusters of activity and power. Pride drives people to seek positions that are regarded as “high office” in various departments of the church. Then power starts to corrupt. The separate organizations become ends in themselves. They compete for power and money. And people at all levels lose sight of the mission to which Christ called his followers.
In correcting the evil of the divisions that had developed amongst the Corinthian Christians Paul reminded them that the way they should see himself and his fellow teachers was as servants. The word he used for servant originally referred to an oarsman on the lower bank of a trireme or slave-driven galley. The galley had a master or slave-driver. Paul may well have been saying, “Christ is the master of the boat. He gives the orders and we are merely the lower oarsmen who pull on the oars”. And mighty heavy work it was. He knew he had to nip in the bud the tendency to become a bureaucracy that was already emerging in the church. The ministers were not the masters “up there” that people were tending to make them. They were the servants “down there” heaving away at the oars, under the command of Christ.
See your own leaders in the same way. Encourage them to see themselves, not as distinguished leaders, but as humble servants toiling away to bring the boat to the destination Christ wants it to reach. And do everything you can to stifle the drift to bureaucracy.
Lord, help us to understand ourselves as your servants.