For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.
2 Corinthians 4:5
Sunday Matinee Servants
The memories are so thick I feel I could swat them away from my face with my hand (my thanks to James Earl Jones, for that quote from the movie Field of Dreams).
The memory is of my mom and dad driving my brother and me to my grandparent’s home for Sunday dinner. Each Sunday we go to church – usually the early service – and then go to my “Nana and Pop-Pop’s” house in time to watch The Lone Ranger on channel 9.
The Lone Ranger was a hero of the American West who fought injustice and helped people in need. He wore a mask to hide his identity. He never took payment or reward for his help.
This Masked Man served those who needed help in the Old West. He was unusual in that usually only bad guys and robbers wore masks. But he was a good guy, a hero, and in a way his mask deflected the focus off of himself and onto the good he was doing for others.
The Inspiration of Masked Servants
The idea of masked servants doing good for good’s sake made a lasting impact on me, although I didn’t know it at the time. As a kid I just liked the adventure and the cowboys and horses.
Now that I’m older and, presumably, wiser, I see the Godly details in “masked servanthood.”
The mask deflects focus. The focus in not on the person doing the good, but on the good itself. In this case, the goal of servants is to deflect focus away from self and toward something – or someone – else.
The Focus in Not to be on Us
A pastor was getting ready to lead a Bible class the other day and one of his friends, Betty, came into the room. She is an “seasoned citizen” and uses a cane to help her walk. As she sat down, her cane fell to the floor.
He didn’t even think about it, but stooped down and picked up her cane and leaned it against her chair within easy reach. She, of course, said thank you. But he replied, “You’re welcome, but no thanks are necessary, it is why I’m here!”
That pastor is one of many servants. He’s there, of course, to also teach and preach. But being a servant is the primary reason for his ministry.
In my pastoral ministry, I have come to a point where I try to make sure that all I do in the ministry is to put the focus of other people on Jesus Christ and not myself.
That wasn’t always the case early on for me. I’m also not always successful at it. But the words of St. Paul in 2 Corinthians above about servants really hit home for me in the last several years of my pastoral ministry.
Focus on Jesus
If you are a follower of Jesus, do you put people’s focus on Christ? It isn’t easy to do! But it is necessary. He’s the Savior, after all! It was Jesus who died on the cross to forgive sins, not us! We are servants for his sake, not our own.
There are so many people in our world that draw attention to themselves. All they do and say is done and said to put the focus on themselves. Getting views, likes, and followers so that other people notice them.
Is the world a better place because of this?
Instead, let’s put our attention into “masked servanthood” so that the focus in not on us, but on those we serve and whose we are.
Hi ho Silver! Away!
Heavenly Father, thank you for calling me to be a servant to others in the name of Jesus. I pray that all I do will put all focus on Jesus Christ. In his name. Amen.
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