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God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use it well to serve one another…. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ….. (I Peter 4: 10-11 NLT).
There is a definite order of service delineated in this portion of scripture. It’s God, then others and self. Unfortunately, we sometimes invert that order to ourselves, people, and then the Lord. In this hierarchy of service, due to our tendency to look out for number one, it is very easy to keep ourselves on top and let God and man compete for everything
It is very clear that our motivation to serve comes first and foremost from God. But even though God is first, it is never just me and Jesus. Our love for him (God) is always displayed for those created in his image. There is a vertical and horizontal aspect to our service. It is upward toward the Lord and outward to those around us. When we combine the vertical and horizontal we form the sign of the cross. Jesus was the perfect servant. He came to serve and not be served.
If we quit serving because whom we serve doesn’t affirm our efforts, it shows we are endeavoring to please man instead of God. If our priorities are right, it does not matter if we are treated fairly, we continue to be faithful in our duties because we ultimately are doing it for God and not flesh and blood. The litmus test of a servant’s heart comes when we do the lion’s share of the work and get very little credit for the results. This will reveal whether are life is in divine order, God, then others and self.
Ken Barnes, the author of “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places” YWAM Publishing