In 1972, NASA launched the exploratory space probe Pioneer 10. According
to Leon Jaroff in Time, the satellite's primary mission was to reach Jupiter,
photograph the planet and its moons, and beam data to earth about Jupiter's magnetic
field, radiation belts, and atmosphere. Scientists regarded this as a bold plan, for at
that time no earth satellite had ever gone beyond Mars, and they feared the asteroid belt
would destroy the satellite before it could reach its target. But Pioneer 10 accomplished
its mission and much, much more. Swinging past the giant planet in November 1973,
Jupiter's immense gravity hurled Pioneer 10 at a higher rate of speed toward the edge of
the solar system. At one billion miles from the sun, Pioneer 10 passed Saturn. At some two
billion miles, it hurtled past Uranus; Neptune at nearly three billion miles; Pluto at
almost four billion miles. By 1997, twenty-five years after its launch, Pioneer 10 was
more than six billion miles from the sun.
And despite that immense distance, Pioneer 10 continued to beam back radio signals to
scientists on Earth. "Perhaps most remarkable," writes Jaroff, "those
signals emanate from an 8-watt transmitter, which radiates about as much power as a
bedroom night light, and takes more than nine hours to reach Earth.'" The Little
Satellite That Could was not qualified to do what it did. Engineers designed Pioneer 10
with a useful life of just three years. But it kept going and going. By simple longevity,
its tiny 8-watt transmitter radio accomplished more than anyone thought possible.
So it is when we offer ourselves to serve the Lord. God can work even through someone
with 8-watt abilities. God cannot work, however, through someone who quits.
Philippians 3:12-14 Hebrews 12:1
Craig Brian Larson, Pastoral Grit: the Strength to Stand and
to Stay, Bethany.
The great violinist, Niccolo Paganini willed his marvelous violin to city of Genoa on
condition that it must never be played. The wood of such an instrument, while used and
handled, wears only slightly, but set aside, it begins to decay. Paganini's lovely violin
has today become worm-eaten and useless except as a relic. A Christian's unwillingness to
serve may soon destroy his capacity for usefulness.
J.K. Laney, Marching Orders, p. 34.
John Kenneth Galbraith, in his autobiography, A Life in Our Times, illustrates
the devotion of Emily Gloria Wilson, his family's housekeeper: It had been a wearying day,
and I asked Emily to hold all telephone calls while I had a nap. Shortly thereafter the
phone rang. Lyndon Johnson was calling from the White House. "Get me Ken Galbraith.
This is Lyndon Johnson." "He is sleeping, Mr. President. He said not to disturb
him." "Well, wake him up. I want to talk to him." "No, Mr. President.
I work for him, not you. When I called the President back, he could scarcely control his
pleasure. "Tell that woman I want her here in the White House."
Houghton Mifflin in Reader's Digest, December, 1981.
"Servant" in our English New Testament usually represents the Greek doulos
(bondslave). Sometimes it means diakonos (deacon or minister); this is strictly accurate,
for doulos and diakonos are synonyms. Both words denote a man who is not at his own
disposal, but is his master's purchased property. Bought to serve his master's needs, to
be at his beck and call every moment, the slave's sole business is to do as he is told.
Christian service therefore means, first and foremost, living out a slave relationship to
one's Savior (1 Corinthians. 6:19-20).
What work does Christ set his servants to do? The way that they serve him, he tells
them, is by becoming the slaves of their fellow-servants and being willing to do literally
anything, however costly, irksome, or undignified, in order to help them. This is what
love means, as he himself showed at the Last supper when he played the slave's part and
washed the disciples' feet.
When the New Testament speaks of ministering to the saints, it means not primarily
preaching to them but devoting time, trouble, and substance to giving them all the
practical help possible. The essence of Christian service is loyalty to the king
expressing itself in care for his servants (Matthew 25: 31-46).
Only the Holy Spirit can create in us the kind of love toward our Savior that will
overflow in imaginative sympathy and practical helpfulness towards his people. Unless the
spirit is training us in love, we are not fit persons to go to college or a training class
to learn the know-how or particular branches of Christian work. Gifted leaders who are
self-centered and loveless are a blight to the church rather than a blessing.
James Packer, Your Father Loves You, Harold Shaw