Jesus Christ, the Creator of the universe, stooped to serve sinful men and women. No greater act of self-sacrificing, self-deprecating love has ever been displayed. He left the most to serve the least.
Moses stooped to associate himself with Israel. He turned his back on the riches of Egypt and preferred partnership with an enslaved people-group in order to look like God, worship God, and serve his brothers.
Hosea was the loving husband who stooped to rescue Gomer. Forgiving adultery, sacrificing dignity, and accepting humiliation, he went to the auction block to redeem his promiscuous, used, and abused wife. Hosea stooped to save and serve the bride entrusted to his care.
Nehemiah was the stooping politician. He left behind Susa (the Palm Springs of the Middle East), the king’s court, the king’s food, and the king’s clothing to travel 1000 miles to a God-forsaken city reduced to rubble, and there he served with shovel and sword in hand. Though he was Cupbearer and Governor, he was not too grand in his own eyes to slave, serve, suffer, and sacrifice on behalf of God and God’s people.
And in like manner, many of us have been incredibly served by sacrificing ministers, elders, and deacons. It has been a great gift for many of us to have been evangelized, catechized, discipled, disciplined, equipped, encouraged, and served by stooping leaders who tirelessly gave of their money, talent, energy, and time. They made vows to save and serve, and because they were faithful, we became the beneficiaries of their humble stooping.
However, ofttimes, sadly, we let our ecclesiastical positions go to our heads. Instead of getting dirty like we used to, we have begun to focus on looking pretty and pompous. Instead of being the most humble, we have learned to seek out numerous and varied ways to grab honor. Somewhere along the way, we forgot we were ordained and installed to serve, and we have begun to look about at others as subjects who exist to serve us — their ecclesiastical sovereigns. Yes, we took the vows to serve. Yes, we Promised to lead the way looking like Christ as we sought to save and serve the needy about us. But somewhere along the way, we overvalued our position and turned our back on looking like Christ, serving Christ, and stooping for those placed within our care. Sadly, we have grown to love less like Nehemiah and more like some of the pathetic nobles he inherited:
Nehemiah 4:5 And next to them the Tekoites repaired, but their nobles would not stoop to serve their Lord.
They were sad authoritarians who demanded others serve them. They were beyond the work in which they once engaged.
Therefore brothers and fathers, let us remember, repent, and recover. We have not been called to be ecclesiastical aristocrats. No, As ministers, elders, and deacons, we have been gifted, called, selected, elected, ordained, and installed to be the chief cook and bottle washers in our churches. As God’s appointed leaders, we are to be the hardest working men in the church. Therefore, let us ask the uncomfortably probing question, “When people consider those leaders who most humbly serve, do they think of you or me?” Or is it true, “When people hear our names, do they think, “There goes a noble who will not stoop to serve their Lord?”
Leaders in Christ’s Church, it is time to remember, repent, recover, stoop, save, serve, and glorify our Stooping Savior.