“We are definitely not greater than our Master”

Servants of God? This does not only apply to the ministers. This is what the Chief Apostle said in a recent service for ministers that was broadcast across Europe. His sermon revolved around the question: Serving – who, how, and why?

“For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” This was the Bible text which the Chief Apostle used for a divine service for ministers in Nuremberg (Germany) on 22 October 2017. It was broadcast across Europe to some 500 central locations.

Everyone serves

Who serves? This was the question initially posed by Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider.

  • Every Christian is called to serve the Lord by testifying of the gospel in word and deed.
  • The Apostles and their co-workers have a special kind of service to fulfil: to make salvation accessible to mankind, to build the church, to administer the sacraments, and to prepare the bride of Jesus Christ.
  • Those who have been reborn out of water and Spirit are called to draw attention to the activity of the Apostles, the Chief Apostle said, adding, “They are also called to motivate and encourage each other.”

Dictated by love

Why do we serve? Out of love, was the Chief Apostle’s answer. “Our motivation is not pressure or fear,” he continued, “We serve because we want to serve, because we love God and our fellow human beings. Any other motivation is foreign to me. Besides, it would be useless. It would not last long.”

Not greater than others

How do we serve? By following the example set by Jesus Christ, the Chief Apostle underlined. “Because the servant is not greater than his master.” And that means,

  • the Chief Apostle explained, that we serve the Lord out of love and not because it serves our own interests! We are not better off just because we serve God. Like all people we have to suffer. He explained: “The Lord came as a servant and went through a lot as a human being.”
  • “It is not up to us to be stricter than the Master and to demand more than He demands. At the same time, the Chief Apostle said, we don’t want to deviate from it either even if we sometimes get the feeling: this is no longer in step with our time!
  • “The gifts vary. Much is being done in the congregations, and everyone contributes his gifts and strengths. “But please,” the Chief Apostle said, “not because we crave recognition. Our mission is not intended to help us gain personal glory! That would definitely be right off the mark.”

In summing up, the Chief Apostle said: “We don’t want to be greater than the Master. Let us serve God and human beings. This is something we do gladly because we love God, because we love our fellow human beings. It is a pleasure for us to express this love. We will continue to make every effort to fulfil the will of Jesus and to share His gospel without deviating from it. We are definitely not greater than our Master.”

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Andreas Rother
Germany, Chief Apostle, Divine service