1 Timothy 4:6-10
6 If you put these instructions before the brothers and sisters, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound teaching that you have followed. 7 Have nothing to do with profane myths and old wives’ tales. Train yourself in godliness, 8 for, while physical training is of some value, godliness is valuable in every way, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. (NRSV)
Last week, we talked about two kinds of servants, faithful servant, and lazy servant. The Lord considers their hearts and intention more than performance. Of course, the faithful servants usually produce more and better. The lazy servants, however, could not produce any because his heart was not ready.
It applies to our secular job also. The manager is looking for faithful workers, not lazy workers. The secular manager usually counts the result more; however, our Lord counts the faithful heart more.
According to the today’s scripture, the Apostle Paul wants us to be a good servant. What would be the difference between the faithful and the good servant? Are they the same?
Before we check out the definition of them, I’d like to clarify who are Christians. Why does the Bible call us sometimes, as a servant, and another time, as God’s child? We know that we were a slave to the devil who drives our selfish ego to commit sins and do things against God.
However, as soon as we repent our sins of unbelief, and believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior, we are no longer slaves to the devil. By faith, we become God’s children. Period! Our God calls us, “You are my children!” This is an incredible grace, but that is true even though we are still not perfect yet.
As children of God, we volunteered to serve our Lord, just as Jesus did. He is God and The King of kings and Lord of lords. But, He came down to us and served us. Likewise, we are God’s children and called to serve the Lord and His people.
Being His servant is also amazing grace. As we know, the servant doesn’t have any possession because everything belongs to the master. However, our master gives us enough freedom as God’s child. On top of that, He pours abundant blessings onto us as He promised. Since we are His possession, we don’t have to worry about our life because He leads and guides us until we come to His eternal Kingdom.
Here are the similarity and difference between a faithful and a good servant:
A faithful servant is a person whom the master, our Lord, trusts. However, our Lord asks the matured Christian to be a faithful and good servant, and be the light and salt in this world. A lazy servant cannot be either a good nor a faithful servant.
Paul suggested five instructions to be a good servant in 1 Timothy 4:6-10.
- Nourish on the words of the faith
To nourish our body, we have to eat good food. Likewise, to nourish our spirit, we need to eat the spiritual food, which is reading and meditating the Word of God and prayer because our faith comes from the Word of God and through prayer. As we know, Psalm 1 says:
“Blessed is the one who delights in the Word of the Lord, and who meditates on his Word day and night. … That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers as they live to glorify the Lord.”
When we meditate the Word, it gives us the joy and peace. That is the work of the Holy Spirit because He works through the Word and the Word is God, Jesus Christ. Amen.
- Keep up teaching the sound doctrine
The sound doctrine is ‘Christ-centered teaching.’ That means Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. There is no other way to be justified because the salvation comes through the faith in Christ only.
We know, there are many teachings in the church and in the world, but they could be false doctrines if they are not Christ-centered. People say, I believe in God, but the God may not be the same God in the Bible.
Many religions believe in Christ, but they don’t believe Jesus Christ is the only way for the salvation. They believe Jesus as a saint or a prophet, not as the Son of God who is one of the Trinity. Many churches teach the false doctrine too. That’s why we must have the solid knowledge of the sound doctrine. That gives us the discernment.
Paul warned us by telling examples of the false doctrine.
* Some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and demons. They started with the faith in Christ, but ended with the Idol.
* Some liars teach false doctrines – forbid marriage or fasting as the way to be holy. Being holy is possible through the faithful life in Christ.
3. Don’t waste of our time for myths
Bible study is important. However, keep looking into something which is not essential is wasting time. Paul also warned Titus in chapter 3. “ But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless.”
Instead, we must edify each other and consider each other with the love of Christ so that our Lord would be pleased with us while the people around us would see the grace of the Lord among us.
- Train yourself in godliness because it is valuable in every way
Many people set time aside to do the physical exercise. That is very important to keep up the health. However, it is not easy to make time to read and meditate the Word. That is hard because the devil obstructs our good intention and disturb our attention.
I am sure that most of us have experienced. When we try to read the Bible, suddenly we become very sleepy. Or, when we want to pray, someone calls or texts us.
Our training would not be fruitful unless we practice the knowledge of the Bible in our daily life. James says, “20 You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? (2:20) 26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead. (2:26)”
When we practice our faith in Christ and the knowledge of the Word in our daily life, people around us know that we are a Christian and ultimately glorify God in us. I believe this is the best way to be a good servant of Christ.
- Hold promise for both the present life and the life to come
Our salvation is not just for life in heaven, but for this world too. We have heard numerous testimonies about how God helps us in our daily lives. If we trust the Lord just for this life or just for the heaven, that’s an incomplete faith because our Lord gave us both. The eternal life is not just for the future, but for the present daily life. Amen.
The following is Cindy’s story (1). She was a sixteen-year-old girl when she wrote this.
“I was fifteen years old when I started using a drug. Up until that time, I was a good student. However, when my parents divorced, I did not know what to do and started the drug. In those days, I was close to a classmate, Rachelle who was a Christian.
In the summer, when Rachelle asked me to go to a Christian summer camp, I accepted. I wanted to refresh my life. After the camp, Rachelle invited me to stay with her family until the end of the summer.
One day, she asked me, “Cindy, do you believe in God?” Since I was not raised in a Christian family, it made me very awkward. However, I felt a peaceful warmness from her question.
When she shared her faith in Christ, I was so challenged and wanted to have the same faith as her. That day, I received Jesus as my Lord and Savior. Now, I am so thankful for her generosity and a genuine heart for Christ. Otherwise, I would still be struggling with my aimless life.
Rachelle, a good servant, saved Cindy.
The ultimate goal to be a good servant is to share the Gospel with the people through the faithful life in Christ. That is one of the best ways to glorify God. Are we willing to be a faithful and good servant of Christ?
(1) A story from “Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul” by Jack Canfield