“But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:43-45)
For some reason, I can almost never say this last verse correctly. I always start off with the “Son of Man came not to serve…” I get it backwards and must think through it twice to get it correct. I suppose the benefit is that it sticks in the end. After all, it is backwards. The world instructs us to the contrary: get as many people as we can to report to us, to do stuff for us, and to follow us. Instead, this morning we study a group of people specifically given to do the opposite.
Deacons are called and appointed to serve. They are ministers of mercy, called to make sure that the church does what the church is supposed to do in caring for the needy in our midst. As BB Warfield said, “Self-sacrificing love is thus made the essence of the Christian life.” If we are not being merciful and sacrificing to give to others, then we are not following in Christ’s footsteps. Why does this seem to get harder and harder as I get older? Do I expect that at some point I will have arrived and then it will flip to where I’m done serving and get the reward of sitting back and being served? The work and calling of the deacon, these servants who are not content to sit on the sidelines, helps me to see otherwise. Indeed, there is never an end to serving and following Christ’s example. Jonathan Edwards said: “I know of scarcely any duty which is so much insisted on, so pressed and urged upon us, both in the Old Testament and New, as this duty of charity to the poor.”
May the Lord help us to see the joy in the journey of following His calling and lead, and to appreciate the person and work of the deacons in Christ’s church.
Rev. Darol Timberlake, Assistant Pastor
Deacons: Following in the Steps of the Magnificent Seven
Exalting Christ in community and mission