June 12, 2012
“This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed. Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.” — 1 Corinthians 4:1-2 (NIV)
A group of friends were discussing Christian leadership with its successes and failures. My thoughts took me to a farewell message when I graduated from Bible College years ago.? Speaking of servanthood, the Dean challenged us to be both good servants and stewards of our calling.
These two responsibilities were Paul?s instruction to the Corinthian believers.
When he wrote to them about being ?servants of Christ? he used the term ?under rower? with which they were familiar. In that first century, Roman warships sailed the Corinthian isthmus.? At the lowest deck were single rows of benches on both sides of the ship where the rowers sat. On a small deck, raised above them so that all could see, sat the boatswain.? The rowers? responsibility was to do what the boatswain commanded. Their whole business was to obey orders, whether resting, pulling, drawing or securing the oars. These men were called ?under rowers.?
If any under rower followed his own desires, imagine the chaos. Thus, Paul exhorted the believers to obey the Master?s (Christ) bidding.
Then he spoke of being ?stewards.?? A modern day equivalent of an administrator, one given charge of the entire household, from finance to the day-to-day running of the home. Wealthy home owners in those days were often away or even illiterate. Thus they appointed a steward to care for their households.? This person must be entirely faithful to the master and the task.
Paul told the Corinthians to be regarded as ?…servants of Christ and stewards… it is required… that one be found trustworthy.??
We are no longer just serving a human master, but Christ. As such we must obey His command, no matter how insignificant we may deem the task to be.
Obedience and faithfulness are biblically significant words. Yet, we live in a day when these two terms are not particularly popular.? Some even see reject them as old fashioned. In my conversation with a group of friends, one mentioned that some people desire to be leaders so they do not have to follow others. They want to be in charge.?? I hope that my friend is wrong.
Even if we are leaders, we still have a Leader Whom we must follow.? He, being our Master, we must follow His instructions.? Sometimes His orders to us may be to do ?little? things. Will we obey?
The old nature in us may have the tendency to want to do ?big? things. But the new creature in us should adopt that attitude of ?under rowers? and let the captain of our life tell us what to do. When He then entrusts us with a task, we must be faithful to that responsibility.
I wonder what task the Lord may have entrusted to you ? and perhaps you are struggling with ?because it?s too insignificant.??? ?A little thing is a little thing, but faithfulness to little things is a big thing.?? (Hudson Taylor)
May God help each of us to be good servants and stewards of our calling as God?s chosen.
Thought For The Week (TFTW) is contributed by Dr Koh Siang Kiang, Associate Professor (Christian Education) at the Singapore Bible College (SBC). She graduated from SBC and Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS), USA, and has served in various ministries for more than 35 years, including teaching at DTS. Dr Koh has been with SBC for the last 10 years, and has a passion for people and teaching the Word of God. She also loves to make the Bible come alive by leading tours to the Holy Land, and has led 12 such trips. To help her relax, Dr Koh likes to cook and cross-stitch.