It is a wonderful place to be, a great place to serve, a joyful place to lead when God’s people come together for a common goal, gladly laying their own interests aside. God loves it when His kids behave in harmony! David, one of God’s favored shepherds, called from the fields where he tended sheep to slay a giant bully as a boy, then later ordained as the Shepherd King of the God’s people, writes a song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem in tradition, sacrifice and worship.
“How wonderful, how beautiful,
when brothers and sisters get along!
It’s like costly anointing oil
flowing down head and beard,
Flowing down Aaron’s beard,
flowing down the collar of his priestly robes.
It’s like the dew on Mount Hermon
flowing down the slopes of Zion.
Yes, that’s where God commands the blessing,
ordains eternal life.”
Harmony and unity are lost when people come to the Table of the Lord (commune with Him) with wrong motives. Hurtful behaviors from pleasing self in serving affect everyone. Chaos abounds in unwholesome environments. I think of Judas who walked with Jesus every day, sat at the Table with Him on that last night together and even allowed Jesus, Son of God to wash his feet in humble service to Judas…then betrayed Jesus. Jesus knows our hearts. He knows our motives. Judas served only for what he could get for himself. Mm, that didn’t go well for him.
Wait, do we serve to serve self?
We must ask ourselves daily, WHY am I doing what I do? Our motives for serving God by serving each other gathered in community called church must be pure, led by God, in ways that please God. Wrong motivations are;
- Nobody else will do it, so I will (self-martyr)
- I need to feel good about myself (self-worth)
- I want others to know how good I am (self-significance)
- I need attention from others (self-seeking)
Serving and leading is not about us. Self gets in the way of harmony when this is the “why”.
Paul teaches and mentors Timothy with God’s wisdom along with practical ways to bring together those who serve and lead with right motivations. When all the parts come together, we are healthy as God’s people! I’m reminded of what Paul said to the church in Ephesus;
“Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.” Ephesians 4:15-16, NLT
Jesus in us is key! Jesus is our motivation for anything done for Him, in His Name, for HIS glory. Jesus is the Truth we speak in love. Jesus is the One and Only in charge as the Head of the Body of believers. Jesus makes the whole body fit together perfectly. THIS is why we do what we do. All for Jesus, led by Him. When this happens, harmony happens. And it is truly beautiful!
Here’s how it happens—
1 Timothy 3, The Message
Leadership in the Church
1-7 If anyone wants to provide leadership in the church, good! But there are preconditions: A leader must be well-thought-of, committed to his wife, cool and collected, accessible, and hospitable. He must know what he’s talking about, not be overfond of wine, not pushy but gentle, not thin-skinned, not money-hungry. He must handle his own affairs well, attentive to his own children and having their respect. For if someone is unable to handle his own affairs, how can he take care of God’s church? He must not be a new believer, lest the position go to his head and the Devil trip him up. Outsiders must think well of him, or else the Devil will figure out a way to lure him into his trap.
8-13 The same goes for those who want to be servants in the church: serious, not deceitful, not too free with the bottle, not in it for what they can get out of it. They must be reverent before the mystery of the faith, not using their position to try to run things. Let them prove themselves first. If they show they can do it, take them on. No exceptions are to be made for women—same qualifications: serious, dependable, not sharp-tongued, not overfond of wine. Servants in the church are to be committed to their spouses, attentive to their own children, and diligent in looking after their own affairs. Those who do this servant work will come to be highly respected, a real credit to this Jesus-faith.
14-16 I hope to visit you soon, but just in case I’m delayed, I’m writing this letter so you’ll know how things ought to go in God’s household, this God-alive church, bastion of truth. This Christian life is a great mystery, far exceeding our understanding, but some things are clear enough:
He appeared in a human body,
was proved right by the invisible Spirit,
was seen by angels.
He was proclaimed among all kinds of peoples,
believed in all over the world,
taken up into heavenly glory.
My first desire is to be in complete harmony with You, living to the beautiful rhythm of your grace. Help us to keep our motives in check, hearing your voice above all other voices, with desires to please you in all we are! May we be led by you. May all that we do be done in your Name for your glory. Grow us to the level of having no thought of how serving will benefit us, we just serve as leaders and helpers in pure obedience to You. Continue to transform me to be all you want me to be before doing anything for you. It’s truly all about You.
In Jesus Name, For Your Glory, Amen