The Hidden Strength of the Servant

foot washing2Acts 18:1-3

After these things he left Athens and went to Corinth. And he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, having recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to leave Rome. He came to them, and because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them and they were working, for by trade they were tent-makers.

I can’t speak more highly about Aquila and Priscilla…  Paul’s co-workers in tent making as well as in the Gospel.  They traveled with him, taught with him, and even risked their lives for him. (Romans 16: 3-4),  but what I like most about them is that they were just every day, hard working folks.  They loved and served their Lord Jesus with vigor… and yet they both had a 9-5 job to get in as well.

I have worked bi-vocationally and know first hand how exhausting it can be.  Where does one find the energy to please a secular employer and to employ their spiritual gifts?  What right has a pastor to ask a church member working 40-60 hours a week to commit to a ministry at church?

Peter in 1 Peter 4 wrote about two types of spiritual gifts:

11 Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; …

The “speakers” are the upfront people… the pastors, teachers, etc.  They are to be careful to speak the words God gives them and not just what they know will cause people to like them.

The other group are the “servers.”  These are the behind the scenes people, the servants… people like Priscilla and Aquila.  Their spiritual gifts often go unnoticed and don’t get the praise and recognition that the “speakers” receive.  Add to that that these servants also work full time and it can be difficult to muster up the energy required.

Someone asked to work in such a role might say:  “Pastor, I’m tired.  I work everyday until exhaustion.  I don’t have any energy left for Kingdom work.”

Well, Priscilla and Aquila in the first century were involved in tiring work.   And yet they served the Lord with “the strength which God supplies.”  You don’t know what kind of energy you will have until you put your hand to the Lord’s work.  HE provides the strength you need WHEN you need it the most.

The Scriptures teach:  “23 Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men,”   This means when you punch the time clock… or when you fill out your timesheet… it isn’t just for your earthly employer… you are also “Working for Jesus.”  Your job is more than a means to feeding and supporting yourself… God wants your job to be leveraged for the advancement of His kingdom.   And He promises to provide all the strength you will need.

 

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