“….whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:26-28 (NIV)
“We all want to be served, we like to be served, and some of us even demand to be served.” This was the opening line of my Bible-college professor’s sermon during his visit last Sunday to our church. For more than 25 years, Elder Bill Canfield has been training Bible-college students and serving at World Harvest Church under the leadership of Pastor Rod Parsley.
As a student at World Harvest Bible College, the thing I most admired about Canfield was his dedication and devotion to the ministry. One of the classes he taught was a course called spiritual authority. The title was somewhat misleading, because I thought I would learn how to pray and utilize the word of God to enforce His will on Earth. Instead, the major portion of the course study was about serving in the kingdom of God.
Self-denial is entry-level Christianity. Beginning with the importance of hidden service and how it transforms the flesh and ending with serving in excellence, Canfield encouraged us to “master the fundamentals” of servanthood. He reminded us that the symbol of true service is a towel and not a throne.
In other words, we should prefer the honor of heavenly recognition to the admiration of being Earthly renowned. We also learned that true Christian service is a result of relationship, not requirement.
God sent the right message at the right time. There were some Manna House volunteers in the congregation Sunday. We were all so moved by the lesson on sacrificial service that even though we had a large shipment of canned goods to unload Monday, it was our privilege to serve.
Just as Christ came to serve us, we should serve each other in humility, faithfulness and excellence.
Deason is the senior pastor of Liberty Prayer Chapel, executive director of the Liberty County Manna House and a member of the United Ministerial Alliance.