In this book, “Horse and Buggy Doctor,” Dr. Arthur E. Hertzler relates how he went to Germany to further his education. When he had finished, he was urged to abandon his goal of becoming a surgeon and stay at the University to do research. He was told, “A man with ideas should not waste his time treating the sick. At best, sometime the patient will die. Truth is eternal.” To his credit, Dr. Hertzler turned down the offer and returned to the U.S. to “waste” his time helping people.
This dramatically stuck in my mind because, shortly before it came to my attention, a fellow-preacher had told of a meeting where preachers were discussing some of the mundane duties of preachers like visiting the sick and making personal calls. One preacher stated indignantly, “I didn’t become a minister to be a servant.” He contradicted himself since minister and servant mean the same thing. His attitude was in sharp contrast to our Leader’s when He said, “And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant; even as the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister and to give His life a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:27-28
The heart of discipleship is service. Christ made this obvious in John 13:1-17 when he washed the disciples feet. When He made the application in verses 14 and 15 He said, “If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example that you should do as I have done unto you.
This was no more a literal, restricted-to-foot-washing admonition than was His teaching on prayer in the Sermon on the Mount when He said, “When you pray enter into your closet…”
“Love your neighbor as yourself” is a manifestation of service. Loving God with all your heart and soul is manifested by service. Proving one’s discipleship is demonstrated by service.
You want to see a beautiful congregation of God’s people? Then look for one that literally believes and lives Galatians 5:13, “For you, brethren, were called for freedom; only use not your freedom for an occasion of the flesh, but through love be servants one of another.” Wouldn’t that be a sight to see? Wouldn’t that be a joy to experience? A place where all serve one another and God!
The trouble is that most of us interpret this to mean that all others have the duty to serve us!