Paul’s address to the elders of the church of Ephesus fully reveals his own mindset about his role as a servant of God. His relationship with God was as a servant serving the Master. There was no power or resources within himself that he could call upon, everything he did was from God’s guidance and power. He was just like a vessel with no intrinsic value, all his successes were dependent on God. In order to be effective as God’s servant, he must be holy. Holiness was the lifeline for God to work in his life.
In order to not sin against God, Paul must preach everything the Lord has given him. He did not shrink from declaring to the people anything that was profitable. He did not compromise the gospel but to call for repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. He was constrained by the Holy Spirit who guided him and told him about things to come. He did not shrink from declaring the whole counsel of God. His advice to the elders was to pay careful attention to their lives and to the flock, to care for the church of God. Paul set a personal example of holiness and he was innocent of the sins of others. Money was a big temptation but Paul did not covet anyone’s silver or gold or apparel. By his own hands, he received supplies his own necessities in life. He did not keep things to himself but always remembered the Words of the Lord Jesus, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” In a word, Paul’s life was holy and dedicated totally to Jesus.
The other aspect of Paul’s ministry was his relationship with the people he served. His life was poured out for others, putting others first in full humility. Even when the Jews betrayed him and persecuted him, he continued on with tears and with trials. He was faithful to preach to them the full gospel, in public and from house to house. The selfless attitude was expressed in his words: “But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” He knew who his Master was and his ministry to the people, so he served with true humility. He did not only pay attention to his own life of holiness, he also paid attention to the flock that he ministered to in lowliness of spirit.
To be a servant of God, two qualities are required: holiness and lowliness, fully expressing our relationship with God who has given us the mission and the power to fulfill it. It also dictates how we serve among the flock of God in full humility and lowliness. Are you serving the Lord with holiness and lowliness? Think of the ministry that God has given you. Are you faithful to God and serving Him in holiness? Do you serve others with lowliness so that others may know the gospel of the Lord Jesus? Pray now and ask God to strengthen you in those two areas.
Ps 142:1-7 2 Kgs 17:1-18:12 Acts 20:1-38 Prov 18:6-7