Saturday, December 13, 2008

Spiritual Gifts pt9: Server

By Bill Gothard

Who in Scripture best illustrates the motivational gift of serving?

* Timothy

What guidelines are given for the gift of serving in Romans 12:10?

* Kind affection
* Brotherly love
* Honor others

What basic principle does the server most need to exercise?

* Authority

Why is this true?

* It gives the server protection for the management of his time.


* See and meet practical needs

Important need that would seem insignificant to others catch the eye and attention of the server. These needs are usually physical; however, the server knows that by meeting them he will bring encouragement and strength to those who receive his help. Timothy’s serving ability is noted by Paul: “For I have no man like-minded, who will naturally care for your state” (Philippians 2:20).

* Free others to achieve

The joy of the server is not just initiating tasks, but knowing that through them he is bringing a peace of mind to another person which will allow that person to be more productive in the tasks which God has called him to do. Timothy served Paul so that Paul could carry out his ministry. His serving was “…as a son with the father…” (Philippians 2:22).

* Disregard for weariness

Because the server sees the importance of the tasks which he has begun, he will freely use up personal assets of time, money, and strength. His focus is not on himself, but rather on the completion of the tasks which he knows will benefit the individual and bring joy to himself.

* Difficulty in saying “no”

As the server effectively meets one need, others may ask for similar help, not realizing the inner motivation of the server. These requests, however, are difficult to turn down because they represent needs, and the server feels obligated at having been asked.

* Need approval

Appreciation confirms to the server that his work is necessary, and it is being blessed by the Lord. The server also desires clear direction. Paul gave Timothy more praise and precise instructions than any other assistant. (See 1 and 2 Timothy) Servers prefer working with a person rather than working for a person.

* Like shortrange projects

The tasks which attract a server are usually immediate needs. The server often becomes frustrated with long-range planning or a continuous task which seems to have no visible progress. Timothy was urged to maintain endurance as a good soldier and to continue in the calling which he was given of God. (See 1 Timothy 4:16, and 2 Timothy 2:3)

* Put extra touches to jobs

The server knows that by doing more than is expected he will not only delight the one being served, but demonstrate that he is doing it unto the Lord. “Going the extra mile” for a server may be trimming and sweeping after mowing the lawn or putting a bow and flower around a lunch box.

* Meet needs quickly

In an effort to complete tasks, a server will try to avoid committees and what to him appears to be unnecessary “red tape.” In order to avoid delays, the server will use personal funds.


* Giving unrequested help

Sometimes the tasks which the server sees appear to be more important to the server than the one being served. It may even be that the one who has the needs is not aware of them to the degree that the server is. In either case, a server who uses his initiative in meeting these needs may be judged as “pushy or intrusive.”

* Letting things be too important

In order to meet the needs of others, servers will often neglect their own home and personal responsibilities. They will meet the serving needs at home, but leave the other needs unmet. This transfer of attention may cause reaction by the server’s family and the feeling by the one being served that too much attention is being put on physical things.

* Working beyond physical limits

Inner tension resulting in physical ailments and especially stomach problems often occurs in servers. This condition is the consequence of extending themselves on either one job or taking on too many jobs. We know that Timothy had physical ailments by Paul’s instruction to him to take medication “…for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities” (1 Timothy 5:23). (Grape juice is very effective in calming stomach tensions)

* Neglecting God-given priorities

Servers are often placed in positions of responsibility because they are diligent workers. It is then easy for them to volunteer a helping hand or become involved in tasks which they should be delegating to others. This imbalance causes the server’s authority to become frustrated because assigned tasks are not completed on schedule.

* Reacting to overlooked needs

A server may react to people around him who, in his judgment, walk right past obvious needs. He assumes that others see what he sees. If he tells someone about a need and that person does not follow through on his suggestion, the server may become resentful.

* Resenting lack of appreciation

If a server is given a physical job simply because he is a server and is expected to get his joy from doing it, he may feel misused and react to anger. He will then fail to remember that he is working for the Lord. A server’s perspective may also be lost if the one whom he is serving is not making wise use of his time.

* Working people around their schedule

Because of the server’s lack of desire or ability to properly delegate tasks, he will often develop his own time schedule and force others to adapt to it. Lack of delegation may also hinder the family from feeling involved in his serving and cause them instead to feel that they are taken for granted.

* Being frustrated with time limits

A server may react to a rigid schedule, not realizing that it is for his own protection. He may feel that it hinders him from the joy of additional serving. Twice Timothy was told by Paul not to get sidetracked. “Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me…Do thy diligence to come before winter…” (2 Timothy 4:9,21).

* Interfering with God’s discipline

The purposes of God may be frustrated when a server meets a need that God intended to bring about repentance. If a server would have met the physical needs of the prodigal son while he was in the sty, it would have hindered his return. (See Luke 15:11-31)


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