Minister

My name is Christopher Dryden. I am a minister of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Saying that can sound rather conceited in certain religious circles. Calling yourself a minister comes with certain expectations and perceptions derived a great deal from various traditions and cultures. So allow me to be clear in what I mean.

I am a servant of Jesus Christ.

My understanding of what it is to be a follower of Jesus Christ is to be His servant. Yeah, you’re His brother. Yeah you’re His friend. But yeah, you’re His servant. That means that I am His servant. I serve at His beck and call. As I said, however, that really should be the case for any follower of Jesus Christ. It’s unfortunate that the term has now been used to distinguish some followers from others almost as though some are servants where others are not. That distinction quite clearly isn’t the case in scripture. Members of the family of God which is the Body of Christ are implicitly called to serve the Lord Jesus Christ. After all, it’s kind of in the term ‘Lord’. If He is the Lord that would suggest He has servants.

The amazing thing about this experience, however, is that our Lord is the Chief Servant. He is not calling us to do anything He Himself hasn’t done. When He tells us to forgive, it’s because He forgives. When He tells us to treat the least as though they are more important than us, it’s because in His ministry – His service – on earth the Creator of the Universe did just that. He tells us to serve only after He showed us what it is to serve. Likewise the point of being a member of the Body of Christ is that as servants of Christ we are called to serve each other. What makes the love we have so outstanding is when its expressed in the delight to serve each other. Then there’s the treasure and wonder that is serving the world around us. All of that serving is what it is to be a minister. There is no difference.

I had the great privilege of seeing the servant heart of being a minister personally in the form of my Dad. I saw this man diligently carry on serving others without looking for any praise or acknowledgement at all – primarily because he knew that in serving others He was serving the Lord and there is great delight in being pleasing to the Lord who did so much in serving you.

There was something that helped me tremendously when I ‘decided to follow Jesus’. The call to serve is not always obvious in certain religious circles especially if you expect to be served. You have turned up to a ‘service’ expecting to be served. You place a tag of ‘minister’ on someone and avoid it yourself and expect that ‘minister’ to serve you. Meanwhile other concepts of ‘minister’ is more like a boss who functions to give instructions to those who for whatever reason they feel should be serving them. It gets messy in a hurry.

This is why the example of our Lord is so inspirational and motivational just when it gets so tough to recognise and live up to that call to be a minister. To know He is not looking sternly over you as though you constantly disappoint Him, but actually is even willing to wash your feet in order to prepare you to run with the gospel that liberates you to serve. It is truly amazing. It in itself makes serving others more rewarding as you do it to Christ.

Unsurprisingly then, it’s one of my greatest delights to come across other followers of Jesus who embrace the call to serve. They don’t wait for ‘permission to serve’ seeing as though it was given at the time they were filled with the Spirit. They are then enabled to serve their family in the faith, their neighbourhood, their workplace, and the world around them in a variety of ways all because of what Jesus has done for them and recognising His Lordship over their lives, they willingbly submit to being His servant for the glory of the Father. I love it. It inspires me and challenges me to keep pursuing this natural flow of what it is to be a member of His family.

My name is Christopher Dryden. I am a minister of the Lord Jesus Christ.

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

Advertisements

Holy Habits: Serve

The character of Jesus is marked by humility.

That character was marked by an activity of serving. Serving His Father and serving others. Indeed He served others for the sake of His Father and how He served others reflected His desire to be pleasing to His Father.

It was a remarkable quality for the one who made man to be a servant of man, even being known as the son of man. The scene of him taking the form of a servant to wash the feet of those who were supposed to be following Him was a shocking one. Peter’s response to this act from Jesus revealed something that maybe other disciples were thinking but didn’t voice. It got even more challenging when Jesus then expected that from His disciples.

Followers of Jesus marked by humility that leads them to serve. For people who struggle with pride and a haughty attitude to others, this is a massive blow to their whole construct of what it is to exist. Likewise for those who continually have a low opinion of themselves, to truly grasp this call is a distinct move beyond the low mentality to what God considers as an essential part of what it is to exist.

Serving the Lord, with full focus on Him, nudges you to see that saying you love Him and not serve those in need is a contradiction. The one that called you out of darkness has not called you to hold your nose to those still in the darkness. He calls you out to serve others and help them out as well.

That’s a noble calling, that’s a call to holiness even as Jesus exhibited it to the point of the cross.

To ensure we don’t think we can comfortable in 21st Century life looking at things from hundreds of years ago – there is a reminder of how He will engage with those in the end. How He will separate folks in goats and sheep. How He will celebrate those who fed, clothed, visited, welcomed – served the least of his brothers. He will celebrate them because as they were serving them they were serving Him.

It’s a challenge today for us to make a practice of serving. Experience the heart of God to a lost, dark and dying world not by condemning it, but by serving it. Serving with a heart of compassion. Serving it even when it’s not acknowledged by anyone around.

This aspect of serving remains a challenging aspect for me. However much I believe I practice it, there’s always a reminder of how Jesus served that challenges me to rely on Him all the more to serve. It’s not about looking win brownie points and showing off about how many people were served and how well the serving was done. It’s genuinely about being responsive to the heart of God to reach people by whatever means to show them the love of the Saviour who took that form of a servant so others could be liberated. This is very challenging in a world of so many attitudes and reactions. Very challenging thinking of my various ‘excuses’ for not serving. Very challenging when considering again what Jesus did and does in serving today.

Very challenging but eternally rewarding, emotionally uplifting and tremendously satisfying in a manner deeper than a lot of things I have experienced.

I recommend serving as a holy habit for you.

(Photo: Unsplash)

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

People Building People

He is the leader, but he does not make a big deal of it and flash it around like folks are supposed to bow down when he is around.

On the contrary he is eager to acknowledge the good that others do. Recognising it and encouraging it, he goes around and highlights it for the benefit of the individual and the whole. Sure he leads by example in showing what it is to be loving, consistent and ever dependent on God. For all that he knows he can get the best from others when they know he is out to serve them, rather than expecting to be served by them.

It’s that kind of way of doing things that reminds me that life is best seen when it’s approached as people building people.

I am grateful for people like that.

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

Does That Suit You?

A friend of mine was concerned.

He was asked to facilitate a session standing in for someone else. My friend’s concern was how to facilitate the session in the typical way that the absent facilitator would do it. The concern was understandable, after all, my friend didn’t want to upset a routine that people got accustomed to and he certainly didn’t want to draw attention to himself by veering off script.

However, as we conversed, it became clear that the worst thing he could do would be to facilitate it just like the other guy. It just wouldn’t suit him at all. Thankfully, as it transpired, my friend was able to be both considerate to the needs of those attending the session and still be himself in his delivery.

Despite his best intentions to just go unnoticed in carrying out the task and not draw attention to himself, his confidence, competence and comfort in delivering in a way that suited him left a great impression on those who took part. Such was the positive response that the original facilitator invited him to take more sessions.

There are a lot of outstanding things that people are doing in their own way and because it’s so effective, others look to turn one person’s style into a system and format and expect folks to fit that particular style. It’s evident in schools, it’s evident in offices, it’s evident in hospitals and it is evident in churches.

It can, however, be suffocating as people mistake a decent method for one person at one time, as a universal approach for all places at all times.

It is delightful when we recognise people for how God has specifically equipped them to function and rather than expecting them to fit our mould, we give them the space and the platform to serve in that specific way God has given.

This is why we celebrate a diverse group of people in scripture who displayed the brilliance of God in different settings that still expressed their God-given character and personality functioning in their unique calling as God directed. It would be a shame if we acknowledged that in the life of the called by God only to hinder that in the various formats and systems we put together.

This is not an invitation for selfish and self-gratifying pursuits where we can do whatever we like whether people like it or not. This is the pursuit of what God has specifically called us to be in service to Him for the benefit and blessing of others. He who made the best clothing for our parents, knows how best we can be clothed to be effective in what we do.

That’s why from time to time it’s good to look at what we are putting on ourselves and carefully consider – does that really suit you?

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

Acknowledging Good Service

If you don’t get good service, you are often going to do something about it, even if it’s just grumbling to someone else. What happens, however when we benefit from outstanding service?

Authrine and I had the pleasure of her company, recently. It was great spending time with her and hearing how she was doing.

This woman had made a significant contribution to us individually and as a couple. Her greatest contribution has been her example. Never seeking the spotlight and never chasing after positions, she has effortlessly been promoted wherever she has been all because of her incredible heart for service. Sacrificial service, discreet service, the sort that’s done without need for open recognition, but with deep and lasting repercussions of blessings for those in receipt.

There is so much to be learned from her and applied in life about love, faith, practical outworking of spiritual connection and endurance under very trying circumstances.

It’s easy to complain about poor service when we receive it. It should be our delight and joy to acknowledge and celebrate good service when we receive it. Not just celebrate it, but endeavour to let it spur us on to more acts of good service.

(Photo: Unsplash)

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

Being A Platform for the Star of the Show

There are many things my parents wanted for me, but one thing that they didn’t want for me was for me to be the star of the show. They expressed this desire by living lives committed to supporting others from behind the scenes. They made it look really cool to be supporting folks and seeing them come to the fore rather than looking good themselves.

Unsurprisingly, as I grew older, in as much as some of the gifts made me more likely to be closer to the front, my inclination has tended to be towards seeing others get their time to shine. So it was a delight to develop a friendship with a dear brother in Christ who was all about setting up platforms on which people could stand secure to practice before others what God had placed in them for the benefit of others. I love his passion for creating opportunities for people to discover their contributions to society and to make them in the context of a supportive community. This really should be part of what sets the church out from other gatherings – and my friend is certainly founded on church foundations. It’s just that often in the busyness of perpetuating similar services, building fund-raisers and desperately seeking to maintain their routines some expressions of church can minimise or neglect this role. So my friend has had to carve out a niche through gatherings and friendships. In it all, one thing about the initiative that remains endearing is that it is not personality driven – it’s not centred on my friend. He is not the start of the show.

That service mentality goes a long way to explaining why we as believers can point to the real star of the show in our lives. Putting the focus on Him in fact puts the spotlight on someone who came to serve and not to be served. The centre of our attention lived, died and triumphed over death to enable others to recognise that they are not the star of the show, but can be a platform for others to show off abilities and talents that gets others to see who the real star is.

My friend inspires me to look for ways to be a platform for others so that together we can display a light shining brightly enabling others to see for themselves who is worthy of all the applause, credit and praise.

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

CD Songs: Carry On – VIP Mass Choir feat. John P. Kee

There are so many references in scripture of God engaging with individuals and setting them a task to complete. That task is completed from a place of trusting relationship between God and the one He sends.

It is such a pity that often following Jesus or an invitation to accept the gospel of the Kingdom does not also implicityly and explicitly suggest that in the same way that God called people for service before, He calls the individual to service now. This is not just a love thing going on of gazing adoringly at the Saviour. It’s engaging with the Saviour in discovering what He has called you to do in getting on with Kingdom business. What’s your role? What’s your calling? What part do you play? How does God intend to use you as His vessel?

Those kind of questions should stir something deep within that works it way out to serving in the area that is in line with the heart of God. It is one of the reasons why I love this particular tune. The encouragement to carry on with the work by discovering, receiving and living out the calling God has placed on your life.

Great tune that I hope you will likewise enjoy and by which you can be encouraged.

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden