“... just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve,"
“... those who have served well as Servants
obtain for themselves a good standing
and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus,”
1 Timothy 3’13.
All Believers are exhorted to serve one another. However, the ministry of a Servant is to do that in specific things. In this context the word for servant comes from the Greek word diakonos.
In most English New Testament translations diakonos has been English-ised and rendered as deacon. This clouds its true meaning.
The related word to diakonos is the verb diakonia which translates to serve and other aspects of serving such as distribution, serve, and ministry all in Acts chapter 6 (verses 1, 2 and 4 respectively).
Elsewhere it's also rendered as service, ministry, serve or minister (Strong’s Concordance).
As with everything Jesus touches, serving is different in this way - Saints serve from the place of freedom:
"For you, brethren, have been called to liberty;
only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh,
but through love serve one another," Galatians 5'13.
Christ has made us completely free and it is in His love that we are to serve - as He did, not taking advantage of anyone.
Kingdom Servants are Believers who have put themselves forward for appointment to serve in specific ways in the Body of Christ.
They serve in conjunction with the Overseeing Elders.
THE FIRST SERVANTS
The ministry of Servant had its start early on in the Believers' Kingdom life. Like Kingdom Elders, it did not exist before the Day of Pentecost.
The situation at that time was that:
"... great grace was upon them all.
Nor was there anyone among them who lacked;
for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them,
and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold,
and laid them at the apostles’ feet;
and they distributed to each as anyone had need,"
The Servant ministry came into existence because of a particular issue. The situation was that, not only were the Apostles fully occupied already but were being pushed to their limits.
They were ministering to those who were being saved and at the same time they were being confronted and sometimes imprisoned by the Jews.
The issue that brought everything to a head came about ...
“... when the number of the disciples was multiplying there arose a complaint against the Hebrews by the Hellenists, because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution," Acts 6’1.
Every ministry is basically a spiritual ministry and the Apostles required prospective Servants to be spiritual. These men would serve in administrative and organisational areas and meet practical needs.
"Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, "It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables.
Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business;
but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word," Acts 6’2-4.
The Apostles set the example and gave the requirements which “… pleased the whole multitude” and ...
"They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch (v5).
Thus God's ordained partnership of Elders' spiritual shepherding-overseeing ministry and the Servants' spiritual practical/natural ministry begun.
This God-ordained Kingdom order of Elders-Servants ministering among Christ's Called-Out Ones is revealed in the Book of Acts and the Letters. The beginning of the letter to the Philippians gives clear recognition of it:
"Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ,
To all the Saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi,
with the Elders and Servants".
So the Elder-Overseers, Servants (and ministries of Apostles, Prophets, Shepherds and Teachers) with the other members of the Body of Christ all contribute to the building up of themselves "for the work of ministry" "for the edifying of itself in love" (Ephesians 4'12,16).
As with Elder-Overseers, God's Servants are to be of a kind. 1 Timothy 3’8-15 says:
“Likewise Servants must be reverent, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy for money,
holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience.
But let these also first be tested; then let them serve as servants, being found blameless.
Likewise their wives must be reverent, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things.
Let servants be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.
For those who have served well as servants obtain for themselves a good standing and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.
These things I write to you, though I hope to come to you shortly;
but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God”.
Stephen and Philip, two of the first seven Servants appointed in Acts 6, are notable for the references to them elsewhere in Acts.
They ministered in "great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus".
Prayer. Thank you, Father, for Kingdom order. Each Saint having gifts and ministries for the profit of the whole Body.
Restore your Kingdom order Lord, for your glory. In Jesus’ name. Amen.