The Word That Stoops

One of the perils of ministry, particularly for those who (through no "fault" of their own) are ascending to new heights of responsibility and authority, is to become so wrapped up in delegating, allocating, and managing others that--month by month and day by day--we lose a key part of Christian identity and leadership. This excerpt from my new book, The Red Letter Life: 17 Words from Jesus to Inspire Simple, Practical, Purposeful Living, in a chapter titled "The Word That Stoops," may explain:
Samuel Logan Brengle was an accomplished orator who had been offered a highly prestigious position in a large Methodist church. So when he traveled to England to offer his services to William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army, Brengle was surprised that Booth expressed reservations. “You belong to the ‘dangerous classes,’ ” Booth said. “You’ve been your own boss so long that I don’t think you’ll want to submit to Salvation Army discipline.” Worse, on his second day at the Salvation Army’s training college, Brengle was assigned to polish the boots of the other cadets in training:
The devil came at me, and reminded me that I had graduated from a university, had attended a leading theological school, had been pastor of a metropolitan church, had just left evangelistic work in which I saw hundreds seeking the Savior, and that now I was only blacking boots for a lot of ignorant lads. But I reminded my old enemy of the example of my Lord, and he left me, and that little cellar was changed into one of heaven’s anterooms, and my Lord visited me there.
Serve. It is a word easily forgotten. And it is not enough to say, “Oh, sure, I would scrub floors for my brother,” or “I wouldn’t hesitate to serve others.” Jesus didn’t say, “I have set you an example that you should be willing to do as I have done for you.” He didn’t say, “I have set you an example that you should agree in theory with what I have done for you.” He said, “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you" (John 13:15, NIV).

Whether you are willing or not, if you are not serving others, you are not following Christ. Whether you agree or not, if you are not stooping to serve, you are not obeying his word. Jesus says to you, “Serve.”
No matter how busy you are, how much ministry you facilitate, how many people you direct, the call to serve, to stoop, is a current and constant call.

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