I recently picked up a book by Nate Palmer titled, Servanthood as Worship – The Privilege of Life in a Local Church at a conference I attended. I had not read anything by Nate Palmer before this book, but quickly I was sucked into the main premise of the book and before long, I had finished the first half without hardly blinking an eye.
The need for humility and servanthood in the church today abounds. We Americans live and die by the sword of pride. We often become so self consumed that we fail to look at the needs of others around us. This cripples the church and suffocates genuine humble minded service.
I particularly enjoyed Palmer’s focus on the motivation behind our service. Are we serving to be seen by others? Are we serving to climb the ladder of positions within the church? Are we serving to impress God? These are all heart related factors that must be considered when it comes to our service within the local church.
As you will notice, Palmer pulls from baseball and other areas of life as a means of illustrating his point regarding service. At one point, he talks about Brooks Robinson and how he played the game of baseball. He points out that although he was a gifted athlete with exceptional skills, he would not have been capable of playing the game and throwing out baserunners if there was not a team surrounding him on the field. All players need the context of a field and other players if they are to play the game. In the case of the church, everyone matters. All parts of the church context have their own level of importance and without the different parts being in place and functioning, the church would fall apart.
Although we all serve God from the particular giftedness that He has granted to us, we must always be reminded that our service is not intended to satisfy God’s holy justice. Palmer writes, “We do not serve for salvation, but from salvation. Serving is intended to magnify the gospel, not replace it.”
If we are all honest, we need this healthy reminder that Palmer provides for us in this short, yet impactful book. We need to remember that serving God is not for the ultra spiritual in the church or for the professional ministers alone. We are all gifted by God and the church functions to accomplish its mission through humble servants who long for God to gain much glory. It would do us all well to pause our busy routines and look around us to see if we can serve someone else other than ourself and our own family for a change. In so doing, we are not merely serving them, but serving God.
Nate Palmer and his wife, Steph, have three young kids and serve at GraceChurch Frisco in Dallas. Nate has been a management consultant and now works for the software firm, SAP. He holds an M.A .from Reformed Theological Seminary and his articles have appeared in Modern Reformation and Reformed Perspectives Magazine.
You can buy Servanthood as Worship – The Privileges of Life in a Local Church from: Cruciform Press