The destitution of service
Though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved. 2 Cor. 12:15.
Natural love expects some return, but Paul says—‘I do not care whether you love me or not, I am willing to destitute myself completely, not merely for your sakes, but that I may get you to God.’ “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor.” Paul’s idea of service is exactly along that line—‘I do not care with what extravagance I spend myself, and I will do it gladly.’ It was a joyful thing to Paul.
The ecclesiastical idea of a servant of God is not Jesus Christ’s idea. His idea is that we serve Him by being the servants of other men. Jesus Christ out-socialists the socialists. He says that in His Kingdom he that is greatest shall be the servant of all. The real test of the saint is not preaching the gospel, but washing disciples’ feet, that is, doing the things that do not count in the actual estimate of men, but count everything in the estimate of God. Paul delighted to spend himself out for God’s interests in other people, and he did not care what it cost. We come in with our economical notions—‘Suppose God wants me to go there—what about the salary? What about the climate? How shall I be looked after? A man must consider these things.’ All that is an indication that we are serving God with a reserve. The apostle Paul had no reserve. Paul focuses Jesus Christ’s idea of a New Testament saint in his life, viz.: not one who proclaims the Gospel merely, but one who becomes broken bread and poured-out wine in the hands of Jesus Christ for other lives.