STEPS IN SERVICE
(About Serving the Lord Jesus Christ)
Steps in service for the Lord are revealed in an incident in Scripture. One particular miracle of Jesus is described in all four Gospels, perhaps suggesting its significance. It is "The Feeding of the 5,000." This event provides a wonderful illustration of how our service for Him is to be carried out, and the results when it is done properly. Consider the seven steps in service, as found in Matthew 14:15-21.
1) The COMMAND of the Lord. It begins with a command from the Lord (vs. 16). In terms of the Age of Grace, this command could be summarized by what we call the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20). Christians are also called to serve other believers: "Through love serve one another" (Gal. 5:13).
2) The CONFESSION of Our Limitations. In light of the task before us, there is a recognition of utter inadequacy by the followers of Christ (vs. 17). If this step is missing, it likely means the work will be done in the energy of the flesh and will fail to bear eternal fruit.
3) The COMMITMENT of Our Resources. The servants of God yield what they have to Him, little as it may be (vs. 18). (These things are ours by the Lord’s bountiful provision to begin with. With David we say, “All things come from You, and of Your own we have given You,” I Chron. 29:14.)
4) The COMPOUNDING of Our Offering. The Lord returns what is offered to Him, multiplied many times over (vs. 19a). In the case of the physical miracle, this involved food for one becoming food for thousands (perhaps 10,000 or more in total). In ministry, the impact of one small offering to the Lord is multiplied in amazing ways.
5) The CONVEYING of God's Gifts. The servants of the Lord give out what the Lord has provided (vs. 19b). Though they cannot do what the Lord has done, He has engaged them and equipped them to have a part. Paul understood that. “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase” (I Cor. 3:6).
6) The CONTENTMENT of the Recipients. Those who receive are satisfied (vs. 20a). It was not a case of “those who were hungriest ate enough to tide them over.” All who ate were filled. (The Greek word is chortazo, meaning they were all satisfied.)
7) The COMPENSATION of God's Servants. These steps in service end with the believer's own benefit. The Lord’s servants are themselves blessed (vs. 20b). The twelve small wicker baskets (Greek, kophinos) likely provided a supply of food for each of the disciples to take with him in their travels. When we share God’s truth with others, we too are blessed.