The Secret Privilege of a Servant

One of my favorite stories in the bible is actually the first miracle Jesus performed. It’s found in John chapter 2 and it is the story of when Jesus turned water into wine at a wedding He and his disciples had been invited too.

This is what happened: “On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding.

(P.S…it’s always a good idea to invite Jesus and those who belong to him, not only to your wedding, but your marriage. For that matter invite Him and invoke His presence into every event in your life because His presence is truly what makes all the difference!).

When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”

(Another P.S…it’s always a good idea that when an issue arises in your life, tell Jesus about it! In fact, rather than Him being the last one you turn to, He ought to be the first!

Also note that Jesus’ mother went to Jesus on behalf of the hosts. There is another great principle found in that; we are called to be intercessors for others who bring the needs of others (not just our needs) before the Lord in prayer. Prayer (bringing our needs to Jesus) is also what will make all the difference in ours and others lives!

4 “Dear woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.”

Notice that Jesus did not directly say no. This is important. Sometimes we give up praying too soon because we don’t hear an immediate “yes” or it seems like the answer is “no.”  But like we will see in the next verse, we need to pray and not give up. Mary models that here and Jesus teaches this elsewhere (Luke 11:5-13; 18:1-8).

5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

This is perhaps the best advice and counsel ever given. To each of us…we should do whatever Jesus instructs us to do! When we simply obey Him and His word, He blesses us! (James 1:22-25).

6 Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. 7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim. 8 Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.” They did so…

I love the simplicity of this. They simply did what Jesus instructed them to do.

And notice what He instructed them to do were things they could do. It was specific, practical and not complicated. Sometimes we over-complicate the Christian life. Sometimes we even over “spiritualize” the Christian life. But sometimes the spiritual things are the most simple, practical or specific things.

Although note that what Jesus was instructing them to do may not have made a whole lot of sense at first! They needed wine, not water. So why were they filling the jars with water and then drawing it out to take to the master of the banquet? Yet, notice that you don’t find anyone questioning Jesus about this. You simply find them obeying what He instructs. That’s what a servant does. They don’t debate or argue with their master. They simply do what He says…whether it makes sense to them or not!

But again, this was something they could do. Filling the jars with water and drawing some out was not more than what they could humanly do. We cannot do what only God can do, but as my current mentor likes to say: “God will not do for us what we are called to do ourselves.” Jesus is going to turn the water into wine, but he called the servants to “fill the jars with water” and then to “draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.” He did not do that part for them; but neither did they do His part for Him! Here is a great principle: as we do what God calls us to do, He does what only He can do!

This goes on to say: 9 and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10 and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.” 11 This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.”

There is so much in this that we could spend a lot of time addressing, but there is one line in this that I want to close with. It’s the verse that says: “He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew.”

You know, it is one thing to be the recipient of a miracle. The people who drank of this wine were blessed. But there is a greater blessing than being a recipient of a blessing; and that’s the privilege of being included in the process of a miracle unfolding.

Everyday people are recipients of the goodness of God, whether they recognize it comes from Him or not (James 1:16-17). But fewer people are the instruments or vessels through which God’s goodness is displayed and dispensed! (2 Timothy 2:20-21). That’s because it takes the heart and obedience of a servant. But that’s the blessing of being a servant; you have the “inside” story that others aren’t aware of or privy too! You have the “backstage pass” or the “behind the scenes” view.

It’s like the making of a movie. How many thousands watch certain movies and enjoy them? But how many fewer were involved in the process of making that movie? We see the end result, but the actors, directors and others were a part of its making.

By the way…it’s not always as glamorous behind the scenes as it may be to watch. Filling jars with water and drawing some out were not “glamorous” tasks. It took some time and effort to do it and there was nothing special about it. But what Jesus did in the midst and middle of it…that was special! And the servants saw this. The servants were a part of it. The servants knew where it had come from. The servants were privy to something the others were not.

I maintain that it is actually a greater privilege to be involved in and be an instrument through which miracles occur in others lives; than to merely be the recipients of God’s blessings in our own lives.

As I write this, it hasn’t been long since we put together a banquet in PA for ServeNow. All through that process and as I sat there the night of the banquet, I thought about all that went on behind the scenes and the work that went into making it happen. It didn’t just “happen.” But I realized most people there did not know what I knew. They enjoyed it (hopefully!) but I think it was more meaningful to me because of all that went on before and behind the scenes to make it happen. It certainly wasn’t all glamorous to put together. There were tasks that were not all that exciting. But watching what God did through it and in it and during it…that was a real blessing!

I challenge you to choose to be a servant of Jesus. Do whatever He tells you to do. Obey His word. Follow the leading of His Spirit, even if it doesn’t seem to make sense to you in the moment. Let Him use you as a channel, a vessel, an instrument, through which He blesses others, enriches their lives and reveals His glory that His disciples might trust more deeply in Him!

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