In his final words to the leaders of the church of Ephesus, Paul likened the follower of Jesus to a steward.
Paul said, “But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24).
The word that Paul uses here for “received” is like that of a steward or servant, or even a slave. A steward owns little or nothing. In the same way, everything I have is on loan from God. That includes my career, my ministry, my children, even my very life.
The Christian life is not about how God will bless my dreams, ambitions, and goals. This is about finding His will, and walking in it. A servant’s purpose is to serve his master and please him. 1 Corinthians 4:2 says, “Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.”
This is a huge thing for us to get as Christians. Perhaps you have seen those bumper stickers on people’s cars with the statement “God is my co-pilot.” I hate to break this to you, but God does not want to be our co-pilot. He does not even want to be the pilot with us the co-pilot. In fact, He does not even want us in the cockpit!
Here is what I need to know about God:
- He is the Master. I am the servant.
- He is the Shepherd. I am the sheep.
- He is the Potter. I am the clay.
That means that the day I believed in Jesus, I became His personal property, to do with as He chooses. I know that sounds radical to some, but it is biblical.
As Christians, we are now the “purchased property” of Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 6:20 reminds us, “For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
But I must also know that this Master who owns me is also a friend who loves me. The Potter who molds me is also a Father who adores me. That makes it all the easier to be His servant.
Paul often opened his epistles with the words, “Paul, a bondslave of Jesus Christ.” But what did that mean?
This was speaking of the ancient custom in which a freed slave could declare that he did not want to leave his master. The slave who had been set free, but wanted to stay on and serve his master voluntarily was known as a “bondslave.”
This goes back to Paul’s statement to the Lord on the Damascus road, “Lord, what will You have me to do?” There was no quibbling or negotiating in this area.
Jesus told a parable about a master commanding his servants. He compares that to our relationship with Him and says, “So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants. We have done what was our duty to do” (Luke 17:10).
The true follower of Jesus wants to do His will, and as soon as he knows what it is, he gladly jumps in and does it! And if you don’t want to do His will, I wonder if you know what He has done for you.The steward or servant must one day give an account of his ministry, and Paul was ready for that day.
Out of their long and painful journey has come a really helpful survival guide, so to speak. It’s a book called Suffer Strong: How to Survive Anything by Redefining Everything. It’s not just an inspiring story of triumph through trials but a how-to book for accepting God’s plan and recognizing His providence even when it feels like your world is shattered.