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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN




Standing High by Stooping Low

Somebody said, "If you think you're too small to make a difference, you've never been in bed with a mosquito." None of us are too small to become great in the eyes of God. Jesus Christ taught that we are never greater than when we are serving others. Jesus once said to a group of power-hungry disciples who were jockeying for positions of greatness, "Whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many" (Mark 10:44-45). The Son of God never criticized or condemned the deep and almost universal human longing for greatness, but He did seek to redirect it. Jesus took issue with the idea that the more people who serve us and the more power we gain and the closer we get to the top, then the greater we become. Not in God's kingdom. By life and by lip Jesus preached and practiced that we go up by going down, we gain our lives by dying to self, we gain first place by making ourselves last, and we become great by serving others. In the eyes of Christ we never rise higher than when we stoop to positions of service.

First Timothy 3:13 identifies deacons as a special group of men in the church who can serve their way into greatness! That verse provides great encouragement to this godly group of servants who have distinguished themselves by denying self and serving the church in special ways. The verse says, For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a good standing and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus." The New American Standard Bible translates this verse as follows: "For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a high standing and great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus." Deacons stand high! A faithful and dedicated deacon gains for himself a place of influence and honor in the house of the living God, the church. How does he do this? By handing down executive decisions and barking out orders and being served? No, no. The text says he does it by serving well. He stands high by stooping low! As Jesus taught, he goes up by going down. Most of us desire a high standing at our jobs, in our careers, etc. How much more should we desire the high standing with God and His people that comes to those who serve with excellence? In August, 1963, President John F. Kennedy said, "Any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile. . .can respond with a great deal of pride and satisfaction, `I served in the U. S. Navy.' " It's not just sailors who should take pride in who they serve and what they do. Deacons are servants of God and His church! They enjoy a good standing with God and the church when they serve well.

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ