And whoever of you desires to be first must be slaves of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.
Mark 10: 44-45
The attitude of being a servant depicted through this bible passage often challenges the perception of achieving recognition and prominence, particularly when this involves one’s ego. Georg W. F. Hegel, a renowned German philosopher in idealism proposed the idea of a ‘struggle for recognition’, describing an encounter between two individuals’ ego, which seek to affirm the certainty of their existence for themselves. The outcome of this conflict is described as a life-and-death struggle, insofar as each one desires to confirm its self-existence at the cost of negation of the other. This dialectic of recognition inherently challenges the biblical ideals of serving one another (Galatians 5:13) and the sole purposes of serving God (Colossians 3:23-24), with one’s gift for everyone’s benefit (1 Peter 4: 10-11). Ultimately, embodying the notion of “He must become greater, I must become less” (John 3: 30) in the acts of service.
In retrospect, this brings to mind the notion of the Unknown Soldier or the Unsung Hero whose acts of valor in the time of war are occasionally vague, although their contributions have benefited others who live on after the war. Similarly within the church, we too have benefited from someone’s contribution through their acts of service ranging from the spiritual leading and disciplining, to the physical giving and developing of resources for the church. At times, we may only encounter the product of these acts of service such as an empowerment worship experience but rarely come to comprehend in totality the intricate preparation of one’s extensive musical training and fervor devotion in spirituality that eventually contributed to this experience. Furthermore, we may at times not encounter tangibly the outcome of some acts of service or even witness their process despite encountering their benefits. Irrespective of these acts of service, one of the commonalities is the generous effort and contribution of one’s willingness, faithfulness, prioritization and dedication in living out the “desires to be first” by being “slaves of all” throughout their lifetime.
The act of service for worship ministers can range from an engaging to mundane task, which are conducted during appropriate to unfitting occasions, in additional the challenges of one’s conveniences. Despite this, will you willingly continue dedicating your efforts and talents to bless the church and the wider community of unbelievers with the utmost excellence for the glory of God? I have learned that we are not only the servant of Christ, but also servants of the church and the wider community for His sake. In willing to serving all, we serve Christ. While we are servants to all by fulfilling and acting upon their needs, our purpose in serving is not merely to please men but to become the conduit that may win souls to Christ. Ultimately, the purpose of serving isn’t about seeking self-worth, achieving personal recognition and prominence, rather its in humility that we serve without being recognized and acknowledged so that Christ is known.
St Lucia Service, HCB.