“Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him.” (John 13:16)
One of the temptations of Jesus after his forty-day fast was a temptation to PRIDE. Satan told Jesus to let himself fall from the pinnacle of the temple in the presence of the people so that by so doing, God would send Angels to prevent him from falling and people would begin to revere him assuming he fell from heaven to the earth.
This temptation remains forever rife among ministers of God today; it is the temptation to make ourselves appear larger-than-life, greater than the ordinary, a temptation to make people believe we are closer to God and so, higher, more important, more sophisticated, more intelligent, wiser than other human beings.
At times, we speak as though we even hold face to face meetings with God and the Angels daily or that what we hear, no one else can hear. In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus describes the work of God as a servant’s duty. The man of God is not greater than the people of God; he is their servant; not their lord.
Are you involved in ministry in any capacity? Church warden, lay-reader, catechism teacher, Sunday school coordinator, mass server, sacristan, altar decorator, member of the executive in church societies, seminarian or priest/religious. Be conscious of the great temptation to pride.
In carrying out your duties, there are always many who will admire you not because you are good-looking or talented but because you represent God. They would complement you sometimes, they would even obey your instructions without questioning regardless of your age or educational qualification. Never forget that without God, you are nothing. Do not let pride get into you.
Doing God’s work without a sense of humility, that is, without an awareness that you are just an instrument in God’s toolbox is dangerous (you can easily be replaced). Never take the complements or testimonies personally, learn to direct glory to God. In the same way, do not take it personally when you encounter those who express their anger against God through you. You are just a servant, the work is not yours.
In our first reading today, we hear Paul preach for the first time since his conversion. Will a man who once hated Christianity with a passion suddenly turn around on his own volition and start promoting God’s kingdom? This shows us the extent of God’s power. God can use anybody, including that man or that woman that you think is most unqualified.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, instil in me the virtue of humility and service. Amen.
Bible Study: Acts 13:13-25, Ps. 89:2-3,21,22,25,27, John 13:16-20)
© Rev. Fr. Evaristus Abu