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ARE YOU WILLING TO BE A SERVANT?

ARE YOU WILLING TO BE A SERVANT?

5 Marks of a Bondservant

from the book Calvary Road by Roy Hession

 

In the Old Testament two sorts of servants are mentioned. There are the hired servants, who have wages paid to them and have certain rights. Then there are the bondservants, or slaves, who have no rights, who receive no wages and who have no appeal. The Hebrews were forbidden ever to make bondservants of their own race. Only of the Gentiles were they permitted to take such slaves. When, however, we come to the New Testament, the word in the Greek for the servant of the Lord Jesus Christ is not “hired servant” but “bondservant,” by which is meant to be shown that our position is one where we have no rights and no appeal, where we are the absolute property of our Master, to be treated and disposed of just as He wishes. 

I see here five marks of the bondservant. First of all, he must be willing to have one thing on top of another put upon him, without any consideration being given him. On top of a hard day in the field the servant in the parable had immediately to prepare his master’s meal, and on top of that he had to wait at table – and all that before he had had any food himself. He just went and did it, expecting nothing else. How unwilling we are for this! How quickly there are murmurings and bitterness in our hearts when that sort of thing is expected of us. But the moment we start murmuring, we are acting as if we had rights, and a bondservant hasn’t any! 

Secondly, in doing this he must be willing not to be thanked for it. How often we serve others, but what self-pity we have in our hearts and how bitterly we complain that they take it as a matter of course and do not thank us for it. But a bondservant must be willing for that. Hired servants may expect something, but not bondservants. 

And, thirdly, having done all this, he must not charge the other with selfishness. As I read the passage, I could not but feel that the master was rather selfish and inconsiderate. But there is no such charge from the bondservant. He exists to serve the interests of his master and the selfishness or otherwise of his master does not come into it with him. But we? We can perhaps allow ourselves to be “put upon” by others, and are willing perhaps not to be thanked for what we do, but how we charge the other in our minds with selfishness! But that is not the place of a bondservant. He is to find in the selfishness of others but a further opportunity to identify himself afresh with His Lord as the servant of all. 

There is a fourth step still to which we must go. Having done all that, there is no ground for pride or self-congratulation, but we must confess that we are unprofitable servants, that is, that we are of no real use to God or man in ourselves. We must confess again and again that “in us, that is in our flesh, there dwelleth no good thing,” that, if we have acted thus, it is no thanks to us, whose hearts are naturally proud and stubborn, but only to the Lord Jesus, who dwells in us and who has made us willing. 

The bottom of self is quite knocked out by the fifth and last step – the admission that doing and bearing what we have in the way of meekness and humility, we have not done one stitch more than it was our duty to do. God made man in the first place simply that he might be God’s bondservant. Man’s sin has simply consisted in his refusal to be God’s bondservant. His restoration can only be, then, a restoration to the position of a bondservant. A man, then, has not done anything specially meritorious when he has consented to take that position, for he was created and redeemed for that very thing. 

This, then, is the Way of the Cross. It is the way that God’s lowly Bondservant first trod for us, and should not we, the bondservants of that Bondservant, tread it still? Does it seem hard and forbidding, this way down? Be assured, it is the only way up. It was the way by which the Lord Jesus reached the Throne, and it is the way by which we, too, reach the place of spiritual power, authority and fruitfulness. Those who tread this path are radiant, happy souls, overflowing with the life of their Lord. They have found “he that humbleth himself shall be exalted” to be true for them as for their Lord. Where before humility was an unwelcome intruder to be put up with only on occasions, she has now become the spouse of their souls, to whom they have wedded themselves for ever. If darkness and unrest enter their souls it is only because somewhere on some point they have been unwilling to walk with her in the paths of meekness and brokenness. But she is ever ready to welcome them back into her company, as they seek her face in repentance. 

A Plea to Singles for Missions

A Plea to Singles for Missions

by Jeffrey Bush

Some time ago I wrote about the dangers of being a single (unmarried) missionary. It was not meant to be a doctrinal or exegetical study, just practical thoughts about true dangers that exist for unmarried missionaries. There are legitimate limits, concerns and temptations that come along with being a single missionary, but now I would like to give another angle for you to consider.

Although this article is geared towards thoughts about any unmarried person in missions, a large majority of single missionaries (historically, as well as today) tend to be women. It seems to be somewhat of a divided topic for pastors and churches as they pray about supporting or sending out single missionary ladies. Is it right? Is it wrong? Is it wise? Should I be for it? Should I be against it? Allow me to give you a few thoughts to chew on as you form your opinion on whether or not to support a single person, especially a lady, as a missionary.

 

  1. There are misunderstandings about her ministry. 

Biblically, a woman cannot be a pastor or preacher (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:5-6), but we must remember that ministry is not only done behind a pulpit. A single lady missionary can help with children’s ministries, ladies ministries, music, organization, secretarial, orphanages, discipleship, preparing materials, evangelism, and assisting the missionary couple and their children. The time, flexibility and help a single lady missionary can give is invaluable. 

One of the best examples I have seen personally is Beth Quinn (formerly Beth Johnson). She served with a missionary family in Tunisia and helped in the education of missionary children, served in many ladies ministries, kids ministries and was invaluable to my missionary friends in Tunisia. God has now given her a husband, Sam, and they are blessed with two children as they serve in the UK. 

We personally require that a single lady missionary works under an established missionary family. Her protection and possibilities seem much better working under another missionary. I have seen many good, single lady missionaries that are a blessing and help to the missionary family they serve with as well as to the many people they minister to on the field. They might not be able to be the pastor, but their talents, time and efforts are incomparable. 

 

  1. God has used many single lady missionaries! 

I love reading missionary biographies, men and women of the past that God has used to spread the Gospel around the world. As a result of missionary biographies, my faith has grown, dreams have expanded and my heart has been stirred. We may be very familiar with William Carey, Hudson Taylor, and CT Studd, but let me assure you that there have been single lady missionaries that have impacted the world and caused growth to God’s Kingdom because of their lives, service and witness. A few of these single lady missionaries are: Amy Carmichael, Mary Slessor, Ida Scudder, Elizabeth Elliott, Gladys Aylward, Corrie Ten Boom, Rachel Saint, Betty Greene, Isobel Kuhn, and Lillian Trasher. I am positive there are more, but those are a few that I have personally read. I am almost positive that if you read them, your respect towards single lady missionaries will be much stronger than it is currently. 

 

  1. A single person may actually be capable of doing more for the Lord than a married person.

1 Corinthians 7:32-34 teaches that a married person is busy taking care of their marriage and family, but an unmarried person is free to care for the things of the Lord. A married lady may have to get home to the kids, tend to the house, assist her husband, or take care of meals for the family, but a single person’s responsibilities are less complicated. As a result, a single person can stay later to visit, disciple, prepare and serve in ministry. The flexibility of an unmarried missionary makes them almost unparalleled. As the apostle Paul said, “Brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none.” (1 Corinthians 7:29). Knowing the Lord is soon returning, Paul urged the Christians to live, work and serve as if they were single — their only love and responsibility being God and God’s work! 

Obedient & Wise

The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise. (Proverbs 11:30)

There are several references to being wise in the book of Proverbs (controlling your tongue {10:19}, listening to counsel {12:15}, working instead of being lazy {6:6-11} and not being deceived by alcohol {20:1} to name a few). Here in Proverbs 11, a person is called wise if he “wins souls.” The soul is more than just the body, so to what is the passage referring? Here are a few connections to understand better this passage:

  • Jesus told His disciples in Luke 5:10, “from henceforth thou shalt catch men.”
  • James 5:20 talks about converting “the sinner from the error of his ways shall save a soul from death.”
  • Five times Paul told the Corinthian Christians that he made himself a servant in many ways to “gain them” and concluded by saying that “that I might by all means save some.” (1 Corinthians 9:19-22)
  • Later Paul says, in 1 Corinthians 10:33, “I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.”

When a person enters into this world, he is dead in his trespasses and sin (Ephesians 2:1), and is a child of the devil (John 8:44). All mankind is a creature of God, but he does not become a child of God until his faith is placed in Jesus Christ.

The Bible teaches us that a child of God is an ambassador, a witness, and salt and light to this Christ-less world. Every child of God has been given the command and authority by God to go un-blind those that have been blinded by the devil (2 Corinthians 4:4). We, as the church, have been given the keys to the Kingdom (Matthew 16:19) and as we open our mouths to share the Gospel, the Holy Spirit can do the work and someone can become a new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17). When a sinner repents, there is great joy in Heaven (Luke 15:7,10) and when a child of God proclaims that news, he is fulfilling the command given by God. So, we conclude that when a child of God decides to “win souls,” he is not only doing his responsibility, he is also wise! May we be obedient and wise as we fulfill God’s command!

 

Here to Serve, 

Jeffrey Bush

Inspiring Commitment of a Young African Pastor

The inspiring commitment of a young African pastor from Zimbabwe found among his papers in Zimbabwe after he was martyred for his Christian faith. 

I am part of the fellowship of the unashamed. I have Holy Spirit power, my die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I’m a disciple of Jesus. I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still.

My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, my future is secure. I’m finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, worldly talking, cheap giving, and dwarfed goals.

I no longer need pre-eminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don’t have to be right, first, tops, recognized, or rewarded. I now live by faith, lean on His presence, walk by patience, am uplifted by prayer, and labor by power.

My face is set, my gait is fast, my goal is heaven, my road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions are few, my Guide is reliable, and my mission is clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded, or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of the adversary, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity. I won’t give up, shut up, let up, until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, preached up for the cause of Christ.

I am a disciple of Jesus. I must go till He comes, give till I drop, preach till all know, and work till He stops me. And when He comes for His own, He will have no problem recognizing me-my banner will be clear.

Ideas for a Church on the Mission Field

Thoughts for building a church on the mission field by Jeffrey Bush

Show and tell your people what all ministerial positions look like — be specific about what an usher, musicians, teacher, etc., should do and how they should act.

Put a tract rack/stand on the street in front of the church where people can pick up information for free.

Place church signs everywhere possible — on building, upright stands on the sidewalk, banners over the street, etc.

Put a speaker outside with native speaker inviting others to come in, maybe some good music or announcements.

Pray God to work. Sounds cliche, but James 4:2 tells us that we have not because we ask not. Do you really believe God can work? Do you want God to do a big work? If you do believe it, then it’s time to ask God, which will result in living expectantly.

Preach and talk about what you want and expect. Would people know you believe and want to see servants of Christ raised up? Remember that nothing is dynamic unless it’s specific, meaning it cannot impact and change people unless you are specific in your preaching and teaching.

Preach messages that are simple and clear.

Get everyone a job, an opportunity to be plugged in. Don’t let hardly anyone in the pulpit, but get a paper and write down all ministries that people can be involved in (i.e.: give out bulletins, ushers, welcome committee, evangelism, line up chairs, sound system, kids ministries, play instrument, serve coffee/tea to all, etc.).

Make an order of the service

Carry tracts with you everywhere you go and encourage others to do the same.

Find out what it would cost to get on the radio, get in the newspaper or put ads on the buses, taxis, street posts, street banners over roads, etc. Get the word out that there is a church that preaches the gospel and wants to help people in your area.

Have a giant sign on your church building, whether someone paints or you purchase it. Using an electrical, lit-up sign if possible so that people can see it at night.

Make sure you have a webpage for the church.

Use Facebook or other popular apps is (like WeChat, WhatsApp, etc.) to promote your church and activities. People use Facebook in other countries more than in the US.

Have Bibles available in church for visitors or for those who don’t have one.

Give out Bibles for free to people who come to three consecutive services (or whatever number of services you think works best).

Pay someone to drive with a big speaker of recording that talks about your church. Although not everywhere, many countries have people that sale fruit or other products by driving around with a big speaker… so use the same idea.

Talk about what a church is and work to organize it.

Have people at the church doors to receive any guests, to give out something, to answer any questions and to point them inside.

Have a personal business card and give it out wherever you go. People will begin to know you as the pastor or Bible teacher.

Send everyone home with something from the church — bulletin, preaching notes, calendar or something. Remember that if they hang up something or carry around something with the church’s name on it, it’s good and free publicity.

Give out gifts to every visitor — pen, mug, tract, candy, magnet or something with the church’s name on it.

Have challenges in church where people can get a gift. For example:

  • Bring a visitor and get a free T-shirt
  • Come so many services and get a Bible
  • Memorize a Bible verse and get a free coffee mug.
  • Pass out so many tracts during the week and get free pen with church’s name on it.
  • Take notes in church 5x and get a free notebook with church’s name on it.
  • Read Bible through and get a sweatshirt or light jacket.

Have a small bookstore (maybe only a small table in the corner) with a few nicer Bibles and books that you know will help people.

Decorate the church with Bible verses on walls, in halls and anywhere possible. Remember, it’s God’s Word that changes lives and we want to get it into their hearts, memories and lives.

Use offering envelopes and put them in a rack or little case hung on the wall. Even if you prefer not to use envelopes, the idea of people seeing others pick them up to give makes a big statement and is a reference when you talk about giving. It also helps divide up where the giving goes (tithe, construction, missions, etc.) and lets people know both the need, the importance and organization of giving.

Put up a map of your city with a verse under it and a saying of how it’s your responsibility to tell the area about Jesus.

For Daily Living

The following rules for daily living were made by Jonathan Goforth in 1894 and written on the fly-leaf of his Bible:

  1. Seek to give much — expect nothing.
  2. Put the very best construction on the actions of others.
  3. Never let a day pass without at least a quarter of an hour spent in the study of the Bible.
  4. Never omit daily morning and evening private prayer and devotion.
  5. In all things seek to know God’s Will and when known obey at any cost.
  6. Seek to cultivate a quiet prayerful spirit.
  7. Seek each day to do or say something to further Christianity among the heathen.

Dear Missionary

Dear Missionary,

It’s pretty clear you’re doing this all wrong.

————

You missionaries living in guarded compounds, you’re obviously not really invested in your community. You alienate your neighbours with barbedwire topped fences.

You missionaries living in houses and apartments in local neighbourhoods, you are risking the safety and well-being of your family. Thank God for those missionaries in that guarded compound nearby that welcome you with open arms and shelter you in times of trouble.

————

You who buy imported western food; don’t you know how important food is to a culture and that by avoiding it you are avoiding connecting with your host culture?

You who buy food from the local market and street vendors, don’t complain when you get typhoid or amoebic dysentery. It’s your own fault. You know how unsanitary all that is.

————

You who use cars and drive everywhere you go, how will you ever become part of your community if your neighbours only see you coming and going through tinted windows?

You who walk or bicycle everywhere, your community is embarrassed to have the only missionary without a car. If you had a vehicle you could use it to better help the community.

————

To the missionary full-on embracing your new culture and abandoning your own, you’re “going tribal” and that’s a pretty foolish thing to do. You’re headed towards a cultural identity crisis.

To the missionary clinging tightly to your home culture, opening up those clenched fists won’t make you un-American or whatever. You’re alienating yourself by not loosening up.

————

You who go on furlough every summer are basically telling the people you serve that your vacation is more important than pastoring that young congregation, translating scripture, or helping the suffering community through that health crisis. Your actions don’t match your message.

You who wait years and years before taking a few months away are going to have a nervous breakdown. Missionary burnout is well documented and you jeopardize the long term work.

————

To the missionaries who own modern appliances, what a frivolous waste of donations. You should be living at the same standard as the people you serve.

To the missionaries without modern appliances, you are frivolously wasting time doing things the hard way when you could be spending that time ministering instead.

————

You who attend language school, you are probably substituting a classroom for relationships within your community.

You who learn language on your neighbourhood streets, your approach takes forever and if you just went to a school it would be a much more efficient use of time. You could get to actually ministry sooner.

————

You who attend the expat church on Sundays, think about the message you are sending to the local Christians. It might not be with words, but with your actions you’re saying there’s something wrong with their churches.

You who attend the local church are neglecting worshipping in your own language and culture. You hypocritically insist the local Christians should worship authentically in their own cultural way, but you don’t do it yourself.

————

To the missionaries who send their teenagers off to boarding school, you are risking the emotional health of your kids when they are already at their most vulnerable ages.

To the missionaries who home school their teenagers, you alienate them from all their friends who have all gone off to boarding school and you’re risking your child’s academic development.

————

You who pastor and translate and evangelize but don’t include seeking justice and meeting physical needs because that’s just not your ministry, aren’t ushering in God’s Kingdom here on earth.

You who spend all your time doctoring and building clinics and teaching new farming methods are forsaking the gospel and might as well just be humanitarian workers. There are more important and eternal things at stake.

————

You who hire house helpers, gardeners, and cooks should be ashamed of your colonial attitude.

You who do it all yourself without house helpers, gardeners, and cooks, are pretty selfish and stingy for not providing employment when you clearly have the funds to do so.

————

To the missionary already decades in the field, your methods and mind-set are outdated.

To the brand new missionary, you haven’t been here long enough to understand the complex layers of this culture and in your zeal you’re making some really stupid and damaging mistakes.

————

Hope this helps and you feel suitably convicted.

Thanks and yours truly,

Judgmental, but totally righteous, Missionary Me