How highly must God have thought of Moses!
At the beginning of the book of Joshua, following the death of Moses, God says to Joshua, “Moses, my servant, is dead (Joshua 1:2).”
The writer of Hebrews comments about this, saying, “Moses was faithful in all God’s house, as a servant (Hebrews 3:5).”
This is high praise; though perhaps not everyone is going to see what is so great about being a servant. We live in a world were the prevalent wisdom teaches us to desire to be served by others.
Jesus commented on this one time. He called His disciples to them and observed with them, “The rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them (Matthew 20:25; ESV).” How many do indeed have such a concept when it comes to the way things are? How many assume that the more a person has the authority to order others around, the more important that person is? How many believe also the corollary, that the more authority a person has, the better that person must be?
Jesus wanted his followers to follow a different path, to view the world in a different way. He wanted them to have a more humble, godly mindset. In reference to how the world worked in matters of service, Jesus said, “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 your slave (Matthew 20:26-27; ESV).”
The more you serve, in the mind of God, the better you are, and the better you serve, the greater you rise in His estimation. Thus, Jesus taught, in the parable of the talents, that the praise given to the faithful would be, “Well done, good and faithful servant (Matthew 25:21, 23).”
Not only is this the path that Jesus wanted His followers to walk, it was the path that Jesus Himself followed as a servant of God. “The Son of Man,” Jesus said, “came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28; ESV).” Jesus was greater than Moses, as the Son is greater than a servant (cf. Hebrews 3:1-5) yet even the Son was called a servant. In predicting the sacrifice of Christ for the sins of the world, God said, “Behold, my servant shall act wisely; he shall be high and lifted up, and shall be exalted (Isaiah 52:13; cf. Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12).”
If we want to truly be like Jesus, we need to recognize the glory of being called a “servant.” Our aim should be service and our motivation should be doing for others.
And, like so many other things in which the wisdom of the world and the wisdom of God diverges, a bit of observation shows us that God’s method works better. Men who seek after their own glory so often fall short and fail to garner the respect and success they so crave. Those who seek to be servants find success, respect and acclaim.
Consider how many successful businesses follow the simple pattern of “provide a service that people need.” It seems cliché and overly simply, but time and again it is proven to work. Consider how many respected people are respected because they truly try to look out for other people. Consider your own opinion of those who are vain and self-seeking.
Has there ever lived a man who influenced others, or is more respected than Jesus? Not only has Jesus been exalted by millions of followers, worshiped and obeyed by the same, but He was highly exalted by God, and given authority over all men (cf. Matthew 28:18) And yet, He did not achieve all that by following the conventional path of gathering power, but rather through constant and life-long service which culminated in His death.
Likewise with Moses. He was first and foremost a servant, and in that service to God he found greatness and praise. In both Old and New Testaments we find the same truth taught, and the same pattern. Greatness is found in service and the greatest people in God’s kingdom are those who are servants.
Have we achieved this greatness in our lives? If not, the path has been laid out for us: be a servant, put others first, and you too can be great in God’s kingdom.
If you would like to learn more about God’s kingdom, the church of Christ iinvites you to come worship with us at 234 Chapel Drive, Gallipolis, Ohio. Likewise, if you have any question you would like answered or addressed, please share them with us.
Jonathan McAnulty is minister of Chapel Hill Church of Christ.