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(Part 15)


November 15, 2009

Today’s psalm reading (Ps 16:5-11) points us to a servant’s reward.

To be a servant leader is hard and at times thankless work. One may be unappreciated or misunderstood. One may even be maligned and persecuted. It is even ironic since one does what he does for the sake of the Kingdom.

But if we live out servant leadership, there is One who will always be grateful, and there will always be His reward to look forward to, if not in this life, then in the next. In fact, given that we serve God, our perspective should really be that of eternity. If we look to rewards in this life, we may be disappointed. But if we look to the life that is to come, we will never be disappointed. “For you will not abandon me to Sheol, nor let your faithful servant see the pit. You will show me the path to life, abounding joy in your presence, the delights at your right hand forever.” (v.10-11).

After all, eternal life in heaven with God is our ultimate goal, and the reason why we serve and pastor others.

How can we assure this reward? Just serve faithfully.

How do we assure that we are serving faithfully?

First, we must always maintain our relationship with God. “I keep the Lord always before me” (v. 8a). It is He whom we serve, it is He who gives us grace to serve, it is He who helps us to endure. Further, we are called to holiness, and servant leaders ought to show the way to holiness for those whom they serve. As we walk in the footsteps of Jesus, as we live out God’s commandments, then we will be holy.

Second, we need godly wisdom and understanding in order to serve well. Since this is God’s work, then we look to God. “I bless the Lord who counsels me” (v.7a). God will show us the way, if we are willing to seek Him. Thus we pray, we read the Bible, we take instruction from the Church, we seek the wisdom of other wise leaders.

Third, since we are weak human flesh doing godly work, then we need a power beyond ourselves, and that comes from God. We recognize that we are mere instruments. We take our anointing and empowerment from God’s Spirit. Our strength is the Lord’s, and “with the Lord at my right, I shall never be shaken.” (v.8b).

When we realize that God gives us the privilege to serve, that God is there for us, that we can look forward to our eternal reward, then the effect should be that we are joyful and we feel secure. “Therefore my heart is glad, my soul rejoices; my body also dwells secure” (v.9). Whatever happens, even if we are unappreciated or maligned, we rejoice. Whatever happens, we are secure in God’s love and the blessings that He has already reserved for His faithful servants. When Peter quoted this psalm of David at Pentecost, he said, “my flesh, too, will dwell in hope.” (Acts 2:26). So we should have great hope, and we can confidently face the future.

God has already decided how He wants to treat His faithful servants. We just need to reap what has already been reserved for us. It is ours to take. Thus David speaks about his allotment and his inheritance. “Lord, my allotted portion and my cup, you have made my destiny secure. Pleasant places were measured out for me; fair to me indeed is my inheritance.” (v.5-6). A secure destiny and pleasant places--what great things we can look forward to!

A secure destiny spells hope. Knowing God and trusting in Him brings hope. As we have encountered in the book of Lamentations: “My portion is the Lord, says my soul; therefore will I hope in him.” (Lam 3:24). Our share is the Lord Himself. If such is the reward of faithful service, then we are privileged indeed. Then we, as did Peter and David, can truly look forward to a future full of hope.

God promises, and we simply need to receive.

* * *

(Note: Get your copies of our new book “Servant Leadership” and learn more about this great calling.)

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