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Pointers along the way #249

Serving God with submission
- Jacob Ninan

These days when many so-called servants of God are flaunting themselves and fleecing the poor sheep, there is an emphasis coming up on servant leaders. Jesus came to serve us - those whom He created and who ought to serve Him, those who were His enemies and those who were only interested in our own welfare - and not to be served (Mt.20:28). If we wish to serve Him and His people, we cannot do it effectively without a spirit of humility and submission (Ep.4:2;Php.2:3;Ep.5:21). We must remember that in this relationship we are the servants who have to serve the better interests of those whom we serve - God and people.

Many times 'submission' is misunderstood to be the same as obedience. But it is an attitude of heart that recognises our small (minuscule) part in the large body called the Body of Christ, remembers that we are but recipients of mercy and grace from God without which we are nothing, constantly reminds us that we know so little and there is much we can learn from other members of the Body, and helps us judge ourselves and keep learning. 'Obedience' comes when we see there is need to change or take action according to what we have learned. But submission comes even when we do not agree with the others and decide not to do what they say, when there is a willingness to examine other points of view and change if necessary.

Some of us are proud, and think that what we know is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth! This, of course, is far from the truth because we do not know everything and what we know is also partial and probably partially in error too. With this kind of attitude we are always found teaching others but not listening to them or trying to see their points of view (1Ti.1:7). We are also unwilling to change, or acknowledge errors that we have made in the past. One of the most gracious things that we can do as servants of God is to admit where we have been wrong in the past, remembering that when we as leaders have been wrong, we have possibly affected more people than just ourselves with our wrong.

Some of us are insecure, not able to face possible loss of face and ridicule from people when they come to know that we have made some mistakes. As a result we hold on tenaciously to our positions even when our conscience tells us that what the other person is saying may have some truth. The earlier we recognise and acknowledge that we are fallible human beings with lots of limitations - to err is human - the more we can accept ourselves and make faster progress.

Another thing is to recognise that others who have ministries that are different from ours have better insight in their areas than we can have from outside. We need to value them. (Also we realise that our own insights into our ministries can be difficult for others to understand who have different ministries.) What we need here again is a spirit of submission. O that all of us can grow in this.