Different Kinds of Service

by Scarlett Stough

The Greek* word “diakonia” in I Corinthians 12:5 is translated as “administrations” in the KJV and as “service” in the NIV. It means giving aid to someone. The person giving the aid is referred to as “diakonos” from which we get our English word “deacon.” A related word “diakoneo” is the action of giving that aid. Jesus said, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve (diakoneo), and to give his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45.)

Some like Stephen have and will give up their physical lives in their service to God; others, most Christians are exhorted “to offer [our] your bodies as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1.)” Jesus said, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all (Mark 9:35.)”

In his writings, Paul referred to himself and other apostles and evangelists and elders as servants. These servants preached the gospel and taught those who accepted it. They labored and often suffered as servants of the Lord, following his example (Ephesians 3:7; 6:21; Romans 16:1; Colossians 1:7-8, 22-25; 4:7.)

However, preaching and witnessing (by word or example) are not the only ways to give aid. Some of the ways people gave aid in Paul’s day are the same as people give aid today: collections for people suffering from famine and persecution; garments for widows with regard only for need; hospitality to Christian travelers and evangelists; helping people escape from persecutors; and general encouragement for daily Christian living through fellowship. Service or aid can come in forms other than these examples. We are called upon to do good to all men as we have means and opportunity (Galatians 6:10.)

God has provided people with gifts to prepare us for “works of service” and the end result will honor God (Ephesians 4:11-16; II Corinthians 9:12-13.)

The requirements to become a servant of Jesus are tough and costly: “The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be (John 12:25-26.)” It is easy for women to read “man” in this verse and think, at least subconsciously, that we are exempted. But Jesus called both men and women to serve him and the requirements are the same--total dedication, trust and obedience in whatever circumstance we are called.

But where there is cost and sacrifice there is also a reward: “My Father will honor the one who serves me (John 12:26.)”

“There are different kinds of service (diakonia) but the same Lord (I Corinthians 12:5.)” Jesus our Lord came to serve us (Romans 13:8-9) and his Spirit enables us to serve as he did.

* The New Strong’s Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible


For the Scripture References and related Bible Study Guide, go to Bible Study Guide: Servant of All.

Volume 10 Issue 7 | Notes from Nancy | Women in Christ Commentary | Bible Study Guide | Abundance of the Heart | Exhortation | Book Review

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