I was reading Romans chapter 1 this morning and I noticed what I believe to be an intentional progression in the titles that Paul refers to himself by. Notice verse one of Romans chapter 1 where we read…
Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God. Romans 1:1 ESV
Do you see it as I did? Paul refers to himself first as a servant of Christ, then an apostle, and lastly a person who has been set apart for the gospel of God.
Often I reverse that order. As I contemplate all of the aspects of being a Christian I must confess that the ones I appreciate the most are those that speak to my rights, privileges, inheritance, etc.… I was once lost, but now I am found! I was once blind, but now I see! I was once an orphan, but now I am an heir of God and co-heir with Jesus! I’m headed to heaven where I will rule and reign with Him! Wow I love all of that! It’s wonderful being set apart for the Gospel. While I realize that this is certainly not the context that Paul had in mind when he said that he was set apart for the Gospel, it’s what I like thinking.
After being set apart I am a pastor! I’m the guy! I get to make the decisions! My name is on the stationary! People don’t call me by my first name because I’m the pastor! People hang on every word that I say. People buy CD’s of my sermons and read this blog! Wow, I must be important!
After all of that has been covered and I have been sufficiently appreciated, recognized, and edified… I am a servant?
I hope you see the humor in the above statements. However, it’s really not very funny is it? Service should always come first. Service is the predominate guiding principle of our Christianity and spirituality. None of us have a greater right to boast than did Paul. His education, experience, and reputation made him a truly great tool in God’s hands and yet he himself used servant as his first title.
Today I set as my goal to not be a better Pastor, but a better servant. I think working at the first will take care of all the rest.