the weblog of Alan Knox

More on Leaders and Servants…

Posted by on Feb 11, 2007 in service | 16 comments

A few days ago, I posted on “Leaders and Servants“. I suggested that Jesus wanted us to recognize the people who were serving and follow them. At the beginning of that post, I linked to grace’s series on “Leadership”.

In her latest post, “Leadership – Part 4“, she asks the following question: “What degree of service would we still participate in if there were no acknowledgment or recognition of our role?”

In a comment, I responded to her question as follows: “If we are not willing to serve without title, position, acknowledgment, recognition, or role, then we are NOT serving.”

I wanted to place grace’s question and my answer here for my readers to consider and to respond to. How would you respond to grace’s question? Is it really service if we would not do the same thing without acknowledgment or recognition? What would you stop doing if you no longer had the same position, role, office, title, etc.?


16 Comments

Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 2-11-2007

    Alan -

    You said, “If we are not willing to serve without title, position, acknowledgment, recognition, or role, then we are NOT serving.”

    I agree with you … motivation is *key*. That is something the Lord began asking me a little over a year ago — what’s your motivation for what you’re doing? WHY are you doing ______? It’s a great question for us all to ask ourselves.

    So you asked “Is it really service if we would not do the same thing without acknowledgment or recognition?”

    No, it’s isn’t serving if someone would not do it without acknowledgement. That would be working for personal gain.

    The other question: “What would you stop doing if you no longer had the same position, role, office, title, etc.?”

    Again, it goes back to motivation. What is your motivation? Why do you do what you do?

    Phillipians 2:3 says “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves…” — I like how the KJV renders “empty conceit” as “vain glory”. My brain understands that term … I wrote about it on my blog in November 2006.

    Anyway, good questions … why do we do what we do?

    ~Heather

  2. 2-11-2007

    Heather,

    Thanks for the comment. You are correct about motivation. Sometimes, I think motivation can be a tricky matter – under the surface kinda thing. In other words, I serve in a certain way. Would that change if my position, title, acknowledgment, etc. changed? If so, then those things may be my motivation. But, how will I know as long as I’m getting those things?

    -Alan

  3. 2-11-2007

    Alan,
    I quite agree with the statements made by both you and Heather.

    What is our service for? Is it for the glory of God, or for the glory of self?

    It’s sort of like our giving. Sometimes we have peopel who give money to the church. In return they want a plaque on the wall, or a building named after a relative, or maybe their name in the bulletin. That kind of giving (or service) is not selfless and sacrificial. It is selfish and self-gratifying.

    I seem to remember the words of Jesus, who said, “Whoever will follow me must take up his cross daily …” Paraphrased ;)

  4. 2-11-2007

    Geoff,

    I like your paraphrase. Thanks for the comment.

    -Alan

  5. 2-11-2007

    Hello Alan from Indiana. Samuel sends his greetings as well. I read your post this morning and have been thinking about it throughout the day. I wanted to answer yes, of course, I’d serve no matter what. But I think I can sometimes hide behind the fact that something “isn’t my job” and “someone else will do it”. Two people I respect along the lines of this question are J&J T. They serve all of us by teaching our children and are not often recognized publicly – they serve regardless of not having a title. I do think that the way in which we serve can be directed by assuming a particular role or position – sometimes allowing us to serve in a way we were not previously able (i.e. a stewardship team, a pastoral search committee). In this sense, I don’t think that the assigning of roles is inherintly bad. But I don’t want to find myself getting comfortable with the roles that have been divided out and not willing to do something that’s “not my job.” I am really thinking through these issues as I pray about recognizing new elders and deacons from within our body. The Bible speaks of these recognitions, so I know they are there. But as I pray about the who, I find myself questioning the why and the how even more. Thanks for the thought provoker.

  6. 2-12-2007

    Leah (and Samuel),

    Hello! It is great to “hear” from you. I hope things are going well in Indiana. You were certainly missed today! (I think Ed misses you, too.)

    Thank you for your thoughts on this. It’s good to hear that these are “real” issues and not just “theory” or “idealism”. I look forward to seeing how God leads you in these issues.

    -Alan

  7. 2-12-2007

    Hey Allen, great question. Initially I thought the response was obvious and several people gave it already and I definitely agree. But what do you do when you don’t want to set up the chairs or what not? I think sometimes it’s not a title or acknowledgment (for ME alone) that gets me off my duff to serve but encouragement and discipleship that helps. I see how you serve your wife and it kills me to know how I pale in comparison. If someone were to ask me for help studying hebrew or said to me, “Hey, what does the book of the minor prophets say today?” I would have no problem doing that because its pure joy. I love those things and will gladly serve in that way. It’s when my selfishness gets in the way that I get lazy or want recognition. Really I need to be taught, taught to obey the Lord and grow in Him – being a servant. But I agree whole-heartedly with everyone that it’s not service if your heart is not in it. I think of Christ in the garden of Gesthemane(sp?) and you know he is in it 100%. THank God. Oh to serve with the willing heart of our Lord…
    PS – Do you think that girl from Indiana is single? She sounds cute. If she is married, I bet her husband does miss her terribly, and the boy.

  8. 2-12-2007

    Ed,

    It’s good to hear from the male side of the Payne family. Does this mean that you are starting your own blog?

    You are right, of course. It takes more than just talking about these things (service), and pointing out problems (motivation). It takes discipleship: both teaching and living as an example.

    You said: “Oh to serve with the willing heart of our Lord…” I echo your cry with all that’s in me! I find my heart unwilling far too often.

    -Alan

  9. 2-13-2007

    Alan,
    It’s been great interacting with you on this, both here and at my blog. I always appreciate the thoughtful way that you approach how we function as the church. And it’s great reading some of the comments from others here that you apparently gather with as the church.

  10. 2-13-2007

    grace,

    I agree. It has been a great dialog, and I have appreciated reading your thoughts as well. The people who comment on my blog are a mixed group. I know some of them very well and gather with the regularly. I know some, but do not have the change to gather with them regularly. Others, I have only “met” online. God has used all of them to teach and encourage me – as he is using you.

    -Alan

  11. 2-13-2007

    You have captured some of the best meat of the posts and interaction with this question and answer, Alan. I think we all need to continue to ask ourselves such questions daily, as we do things. What are our motives? Unconditional love and service or something less? What is amazing, though, about God is that even when we do work from a less than ideal motive, God can still use it to His glory, in spite of our attempts to set ourselves or others up as idols.

  12. 2-13-2007

    Bryan,

    Once again, I think you have summed this up well. We must all consider our motivation in doing anything. Then, we must also recognize that God can use anyone – even if that person is acting out of wrong motive or intention. Paul was not concerned about the “motives” of his “adversaries” in his letter to the Philippians. He was only concerned that the gospel was being proclaimed. Thank God that he is faithful even when we are not!

    -Alan

  13. 2-13-2007

    Bryan,

    I was thinking more about your comment. You said: “What is amazing, though, about God is that even when we do work from a less than ideal motive, God can still use it to His glory…”

    Your comment reminded me of something: We can’t use “results” as a measure of our obedience. Results are always a measure of God’s faithfulness, but, as you stated, God may have worked in spite of our disobedience. This gives me much more to think about.

    -Alan

  14. 2-13-2007

    Yes, Alan, I agree. I wasn’t making that statement as an excuse for our disobedience. We dont’ have an excuse and, thankfully, God will correct us in love. But, our disobedience and our frailty does nothing to lesson who God is or to thrwart His purpose! That is what I was stating my amazement at.. God. God is. God is. God is the Lord God; God is One. God is Three in One. Amazing. May God be glorified; may I decrease.

    I think that all too often people assume when you say something like… the good news is God is glorified regardless… or make a Calvinistic sounding statement, that you are trying to excuse sin. I just don’t see it that way at all. I just see it as realizing the Truth about God and how absolutely fantastic God is.

    We can rest in that. In God.

  15. 2-13-2007

    Bryan,

    I agree with everything that I said. I was not commenting directly about what you said in your previous comment. I was really thinking out loud about some things that your comment led me to. Again, I agree with you completely.

    -Alan

  16. 2-13-2007

    LOL. Aren’t we a pair? :) Great minds… Or, is it like Chip and Dale.

    It is good to get the mental juices flowing. I really have not focused on leadership in a long time and I have thoroughly enjoyed yours, Grace’s, and Jamie’s discussion.