THE SERVANT GENERAL
THE FULL GOSPEL
Today’s reading: Acts 20:17-27
Paul was the servant leader par excellence. We have
much to learn from him, as he spoke to the presbyters of the
church at Ephesus in his farewell address at Miletus (Acts
First, he was a zealous evangelizer. By the witness of his
life and words, he brought many people “to repentance
before God and to faith in our Lord Jesus.” (Acts 20:21).
For us in CFC-FFL, we do person-to-person evangelization,
and bring people to our Christian Life Seminar (CLS), where
they are brought to repentance and faith. Leaders not only
lead others, but are right there at the forefront of evangelization,
proclaiming the good news of salvation in Jesus. We are not
arm-chair generals, but we plunge into the battle with our
Second, Paul “did not shrink from proclaiming to (them)
the entire plan of God.” (Acts 20:27). Those of us who
are top leaders in the community need to educate and form
our people, especially other leaders and most especially seniors
(elders), according to the whole plan of God. This includes,
nay, necessitates, the hard teachings, such as:
the lessons of Lamentations
the lessons of Job, especially on redemptive suffering
the call to give our all for the cause of Christ
the true meaning of servant leadership.
Third, Paul “did not at all shrink from telling (them)
what was for (their) benefit” (Acts 20:20a). At times
we are reluctant to speak a hard word to our leaders, for
fear of hurting them or turning them away. This is a great
disservice, for we then keep them from fully maturing in Christ.
What is for the benefit of leaders? It is to know the meaning
of God’s call to servanthood, especially the very challenging
aspects. Consider the following:
If we are to be disciples, then we are to deny ourselves
and carry our cross.
we are to take territory from the enemy, we are to be formed
as warriors, mindful of the suffering and pain that spiritual
While encouragement is important, fraternal correction is
While care and concern are a staple of community life, so
is tough love.
While there will be many blessings as we serve the Lord,
there will be trials and oppression and persecution as well.
servant leaders are to be obedient to the Holy Spirit, who
sanctifies us and sends us out on mission. We are not to choose
what we prefer to do. We are not to eschew the hard assignments.
We are not to be so overly careful (we do need to be prudent)
that we are no longer willing to take risks. Paul’s
posture was this: “compelled by the Spirit, I am going
to Jerusalem. What will happen to me there I do not know”
(Acts 20:22-23a). We are to tread even into the unknown, into
uncharted territories, fully trusting in God and His provision.
Fifth, servant leaders must be willing, nay, even eager, to
embrace the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is the way
of discipleship. This is the way of our Master and Lord. The
cross is where the path of holiness leads to. The Holy Spirit
continually warned Paul that imprisonment and hardships awaited
him (Acts 20:23), but he plodded on. In fact, are we not to
rejoice when our Lord Jesus gives us the privilege to suffer
for him as we pursue his mission?
Sixth, we must be persevering, dogged, zealous, single-minded,
persistent, in the pursuit of our mission. Even to the point
of giving our very lives. “Yet I consider life of no
importance to me, if only I may finish my course and the ministry
that I received from the Lord Jesus, to bear witness to the
gospel of God’s grace.” (Acts 20:24). Our mission
should consume us. We have been given a responsibility, and
woe to us if we do not proclaim the gospel. We have been given
a great privilege, and we simply rejoice in that. We hold
nothing back, we give our all, we endure through the challenges.
We want to be found to be good and faithful servants, whom
our Master will welcome into his joy.
Finally, in the face of God showing His glory through us as
we serve Him (Is 49:3), we are to remain humble. We are mere
instruments. The glory belongs only to God. In fact, the sufferings
in mission are designed to keep us down-to-earth, to realize
that apart from God we can do nothing, to know that we in
fact are the obstacles to God’s work, but to be thankful
that God still works in spite of us. Like Paul, we must be
able to say, “I served the Lord with all humility and
with the tears and trials that came to me” (Acts 20:19a).
God formed us as a servant from the womb, tasked to bring
back and gather to Him His people (Is 49:5a). Let us apply
ourselves to this task, proclaiming the full gospel to the
world, including our brethren who are already with us and
the leaders who are already serving. And let us look to Paul,
who moved in the very strength of God.
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Servant Leadership (Part 19) [PDF]