What makes you tick? Each of us has something that really energizes us and provides much of the motivation for what we do in life. The recent Olympic games featured athletes from around the world whose heartbeat was their sport. These athletes spent hours each week swimming in a pool, running on a track or any number of other completely boring activities (that’s my opinion any way) simply because it’s what made them tick.
As we read Paul’s epistles it’s clear that the Apostle Paul had an incredible passion for just one thing – reaching the lost. Like athletes and musicians who spend their waking hours consumed by their passion, the Apostle Paul was consumed by the needs of those who didn’t know Jesus Christ.
Paul makes a statement in 1 Corinthians 9:19 (NKJV) that rocks my world, “I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more.” The Greek word for servant is δοῦλος and according to Kenneth Wuest it is, “the most abject, servile term used by the Greeks to denote a slave.” Wuest goes on to further describe this by saying;
“The word [servant] designated one who was born as a slave, one who was bound to his master in chords so strong that only death could break them, one who served his master to the disregard of his own interests, one whose will was swallowed up in the will of his master.”
The significance of what the Apostle Paul was saying needs to grip our hearts. According to his own words, Paul made himself a servant to the lost. This wasn’t his calling this was his choice! Paul’s choice to make himself a servant to the lost had incredible consequences. A partial list of what Paul endured because he made himself a servant to the lost can be found in 2 Corinthians 11:23-27 NKJV);
In labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. 24 From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness
Wuest said that the will of the servant was swallowed up in the will of his master, which means that the lost determined everything that the Apostle Paul did. The lost determined when Paul could go to bed and what he did every single day. Paul’s willingness to do whatever it takes to reach the lost is best captured in Romans 9:3 (GW);
I wish I could be condemned and cut off from Christ for the sake of others.
Paul was willing to go to hell if it meant that others would be saved! That’s the heartbeat of a servant and according to Wuest nothing but death itself could stop that. God help us to capture this kind of passion and commitment to the lost because if we do, the revival of the 1st century will pale in comparison to the revival of the 21st century.