Servants, Not Lords

In Colossians 1:23 the Apostle Paul writes about “the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a servant.” The description Paul gave of himself here is significant:

He said, “I, Paul, was made a servant.” The word “servant” here is the Greek word, “diaconos”, the same word used of the the men who waited on tables. Paul did not consider himself to be some kind of “lord” who would distribute the Gospel to inferiors as he so pleased. Rather he saw himself as a servant who ministered the Gospel wherever God directed.

The attitude difference here is HUGE, and has significant implications for the way that we minister today. Too many Christians see themselves as “little lords” of the church they pastor, the class they lead, the denominational unit they head, or the ministry in which they participate. This is absolutely contrary to Jesus’ instructions to us. He specifically told us in Matthew 20:25-26, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant.”

Paul got this. Even with all of his apostolic authority, he didn’t consider himself to be a “lord”, but a “servant.” Many of us need to see ourselves the same way: I do not “rule” the class; I serve it. I do not “rule” the denomination or ministry; I serve it. I do not “rule” the church; I serve it.

Evaluate your own ministry: do you have the attitude that you are the “lord”of “your little kingdom” — or like Paul, a servant for the Kingdom of God?

Or even more telling: how would those who work with you in ministry characterize your attitude?

About Shawn Thomas

My blog,, provides brief devotions from own personal daily Bible reading, as well as some of my sermons, book reviews, and family life experiences.
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2 Responses to Servants, Not Lords

  1. tchenel says:

    I am so happy God reminded me of this today. My prayer is God please help me be humble. I dont want to be full of pride and have to be brought low, embarassed, or miss Him. I can use this even on my job, to keep in mind I am “serving” others, just because I work here, or been doing it for a long time, etc. to be careful I dont have a “lording over” them attitude when answering questions or helping people! Thankful to God you wrote about this today. God bless!!!

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