Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament account of the spiritual body of Jesus the Christ which was the church birthed on the day of Pentecost as written and recorded by the beloved physician Luke in the book of Acts. More specifically, today’s passage is found in verses twenty-six through forty of the eighth chapter. When you come to this particular portion of scripture you will find the account and story of Philip continuing within the book of Acts. In a chapter that began with a great persecution breaking out against the church and a man named Saul wreaking havoc upon and within the church we find the account of one who was used by the Holy Spirit to preach the gospel concerning the kingdom and Jesus the Christ. In order to understand the life and ministry of Philip it is first necessary to understand that his story doesn’t begin in the eighth chapter of the book of Acts with his journey to Samaria. What’s more is that the Philip we read about in this passage of scripture is not to be confused with the Philip who was called as one of the disciples of Jesus the Christ. It would be very easy to get these two individuals confused—particularly and especially considering they are both mentioned within the book of Acts. If and as you read the book of Acts you will quickly notice that there is one statement the beloved physician Luke writes in the eighth chapter that solidified the fact that the Philip we read about in the eighth chapter is not Philip who was listed among the disciples, but rather was the Philip who was listed among the seven deacons who were ordained and appointed by the apostles in the sixth chapter. If you read the words which are found within this passage and read how there was a great persecution which broke out against the church within the city of Jerusalem you will notice that Luke writes how the church was scattered throughout Judaea and Samaria. What is unique about what is written and mentioned concerning the great persecution which broke out against the church is that while it speaks of the believers being scattered throughout Judaea and Samaria it specifically states how the apostles themselves remained within the city of Jerusalem. This is actually quite an astounding and remarkable fact, for it without a doubt confirms the fact that the Philip we read about in the eighth chapter could not have been Philip the apostle, for Philip the apostle of Christ remained within the city of Jerusalem. This was despite the fact that much of the church was scattered throughout Judaea and Samaria, as well as the fact that Saul wreaked havoc in the church by dragging men and women from their homes and committing them to prison. As we read the words which are found within the eighth chapter of the book of Acts we must understand and recognize that what we are reading does not deal with Philip the apostle of Christ but rather Philip one of the deacons of the church.
With it being absolutely and without a doubt clear that the Philip we read of in the eighth chapter not being the same Philip which was named among the twelve apostles we must then understand that the story of this Philip does not begin in and with the eighth chapter, but rather with the sixth chapter of this same book. Upon reading the sixth chapter of the book of of Acts you will notice and discover that while the early church continued to multiply and grow there arose a grievance and complaint by some of the Greeks concerning their widows and their being neglected and overlooked in the daily ministration. As a direct result of the words which the Greeks spoke unto the apostles they immediately responded by declaring that it wasn’t meet, nor was it fitting for them to neglect the word of God to wait tables. Instead, what happened was the choosing of seven men who were full of faith and full of the Holy Spirit from among the people who would serve among the people in the daily ministration. Of these seven deacons which were ordained and appointed by the apostles were Stephen who was a man full of faith and full of the Holy Spirit, as well as Stephen. While we know they Stephen was a man who was full of the Holy Spirit and full of power, as well as a man who was used nightly of God to preach the gospel concerning the kingdom, and concerning Jesus the Christ, he was also the same one who would be the first martyr of the early church as he was dragged outside of the city and stoned to death. If was this Stephen who stood trial before the high priest and Sanhedrin and asked to give an answer—not concerning what he believed concerning Jesus Christ, but rather concerning the accusations which were brought against him. Instead of defending himself against the accusations, however, Stephen would proceed to give them a history lesson before indicting them as stiffnecked individuals who were slow of hearing and hard of heart. It was the words which Stephen spoke unto these in the council that enraged and infuriated them and caused them to thrust him out of the city and stone him to death. Moreover, it was while they were casting stones at him that he looked steadfastly into heaven and saw the glory of God and the Son of God standing at the right hand of the Father. What’s more, is that before Stephen passed from this life to the next he cried out to God that he would not lay this sin against the charge of those who stoned him to death. How absolutely and wonderful it is to read the account of Stephen and to learn of his sacrificial living for the gospel concerning Jesus the Christ and the kingdom of God.
As you read the words which are found within the sixth chapter of the book of Acts you will quickly discover the tremendous reality that the men who were chosen from among the people and appointed as the first deacons of the church were men who were full of faith and full of the Holy Spirit. While nothing at this time is mentioned concerning Philip we can determine and understand that Philip was a man who was full of faith and full of the Holy Spirit. What’s more, is that we can undoubtedly deduce and understand from this passage that Philip was a servant and had the heart of a servant, for he would work together with the other deacons—including Stephen—to minister among the saints of God within the early church. The story and account of Philip therefore does not begin in and within the eighth chapter, but rather it begins within the sixth chapter as we read of his being one of the seven deacons ordained and appointed by the church. It’s absolutely necessary and important that we recognize and understand that the account of Philip is one that begins with his being set apart and chosen by the apostles to serve among the needs of the early church. The story and account of Philip is not one that initially begins with his being used of God to preach the gospel concerning the kingdom, but rather with his serving tables and ministering among the saints of God within the early church. I am completely and utterly convinced there is something to be said and understood about this, for when we think of ministry and when we think of being used by God we don’t oftentimes think of the story that begins without and apart from preaching the gospel concerning Jesus the Christ, and even being used of the Holy Spirit to work signs, wonders and miracles among the people of God and within the earth. More often than not when we think of those who are used by God we don’t think, nor do we consider the fact that their story may not begin with ministry as we would define ministry, but rather it may begin with something completely and entirely different. This is undoubtedly the case with Philip, for when we first read of and first learn of Philip we don’t find him in Samaria preaching the gospel concerning Jesus the Christ, nor do we find him working signs, wonders and miracles. Instead, that which we find concerning Philip is his working together with the other six deacons to serve and minister among the needs of the people. It is important for us to pay close attention to this, for the account of Philip doesn’t begin with public ministry in terms of preaching and working miracles but with serving. In other words, what we we First uncover and discover about Philip is that not only was he a man who was full of faith and full of power, but he was also a man who gave himself to serving the needs of those within the corporate body of Christ in Jerusalem. Thus, we can logically seduce and discern from the sixth chapter that before Philip was a preacher of the gospel concerning Jesus the Christ he was First a servant among the men and women and families within the body of Christ. Philip didn’t immediately begin with preaching the gospel concerning Jesus the Christ, nor did he immediately begin with working signs, wonders and miracles. Unlike Stephen whom we immediately read of working great signs, wonders and miracles, we don’t read that about Philip. Immediately after we read the account of the seven deacons being called and chosen by God we read of Stephen being a man who was full of wisdom, full of faith, and full of the Holy Spirit and who was used mightily by God to work great signs wonders and miracles within the earth. The account of Philip does not begin the same way the account of Philip does, for we don’t immediately read of Philip working great wonders and miracles among the people as Stephen did.
What we must learn and must understand concerning Philip is that while we don’t immediately find him working signs, wonders and miracles as we do Stephen, we find his story coming later on in the history of the early church. We don’t know from scripture how long it was between the appointment of the seven deacons and the time the great persecution broke out, nor do we know how long it was between the time the great persecution broke out against the church and the time much of the church was scattered. What we do know and what we do understand is that before the great persecution broke out against and within the church Stephen was dragged before the Sanhedrin and tried because of false accusations which were brought against him. What’s more, is that we can discern from scripture that it was the death and martyring of Stephen which served as the catalyst for the great persecution which broke out against the church, as well as Saul wreaking havoc upon and against the early church. While it was true that immediately after we read of the seven deacons being ordained and appointed by the twelve apostles we read of Stephen being used mightily of God and of the Spirit to work great wonders and miracles among the people, this was not the case, nor was this the story concerning Philip. The story of Philip begins the same way as that of Stephen as they were both ordained and appointed by the twelve apostles to serve among the saints of the early church in order that there might not be any neglect of those within the body, and in order that the apostles might continue giving themselves to prayer and the preaching of the word of God. What we learn and what we discover concerning Philip is that while he was ordained and appointed by the twelve apostles as one of the seven deacons who would serve and minister among the body of Christ, he would actually not begin ministering according to the Holy Spirit until persecution broke out against the church, and until he had actually left Jerusalem and went into Samaria. One thing we must learn and must understand concerning the account Philip is that he was indeed a man who was full of faith and full of the Holy Spirit, however, his story and the account of his life and ministry did not immediately begin with ministry, but rather with serving, and serving among the needs of the men and women of the body of Christ. The account of Philip did not immediately begin with signs, with wonders, and with miracles, but began with serving the needs of others in what seem as though it’s trivial and menial in the eyes of natural and carnal minded men. There would be those who would read the account of Stephen and those who would read the account of Philip, and who would somehow draw the conclusion that what we find and what we read concerning Philip is somehow different from that which we read concerning Stephen. There would be those who would read the words concerning Philip and somehow diminish the fact that his story and the account of his life would begin with serving the needs of others rather than ministry. The truth of the matter is that this simply is not the case, and we do ourselves a great disservice when we think about and consider the fact that ministry is somehow greater than service and serving the needs of those before and around us.
As I sit here this morning I can’t help but be reminded of the words which the apostle Paul wrote in the twelfth chapter of the New Testament epistle which was written unto the Roman saints and congregation. If and as you read the words which are found within the twelfth chapter of this particular epistle you will find the apostle writing unto these saints concerning the tremendous need for humility and for serving the needs of others as they esteem others above and better than themselves. In fact, this words which we find in the twelfth chapter of the epistle written unto the Romans goes hand in hand with the words which the same apostle wrote in the second chapter of the epistle which was written and sent unto the church in Philippi. There is not a doubt in my mind that when we read the account of Stephen, and of Philip, and of the other five deacons, we must understand it from the perspective of serving the needs of others as set against that which we have come to understand as ministry with signs, wonders and miracles. Having spent a considerable amount of time within the church throughout the course of my life I must state that I have seen countless men and women placing a greater emphasis on ministry with signs, wonders, and miracles over and above that of serving among and serving the needs of others. There have been countless within the body of Christ, and countless within Christendom who would dare state and dare believe that service is somehow beneath ministry as we would come to understand ministry among the body, as well as outside the four walls of the church. I would dare say that such a belief and such thoughts could not be further from the truth, and must be refuted at all costs. With that being said, I invite you to consider the words which the apostle wrote—first unto the saints which were in Rome, and second unto the saints which were in Philippi. Consider if you will the words which are found in the twelfth chapter of the New Testament epistle written unto the Romans, as well as the words which are written in the second chapter of the epistle which was written unto the Philippian congregation:
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be no conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; or ministry, let us wait on our ministering; or he that teacheth, on teaching; or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness. Let love be without dissimulation. Ashore that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectiohned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of. Low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:1-21).
“If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comforts of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, fulfill ye my job, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in loneliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in Thou, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not Ro berry to be equal with God: but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure. Do all things without murmuring and disputing: that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain” (Philippians 2:1-16).
It is quite clear from each of these passages that the apostle Paul places great emphasis on giving ourselves to esteeming others above and before ourselves, and giving ourselves in service unto the needs of others. The apostle Paul made it very clear that serving rather than ministry as we would think of ministry is of greater necessity and greater importance, for it is through service and serving the needs of others that we demonstrate the character and nature of Christ more than anything else. We dare not think and allow ourselves to be misled and deceived with and by the fact that ministry with signs, wonders and miracles, or even ministry with preaching behind some pulpit, or even having some great name and fame in the eyes of others is somehow greater than that of serving the needs of others. If you read and study the four gospels which are found at the beginning of the New Testament you will find that Jesus Himself emphatically declared that He did not come to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many. What’s more, is that when you come to the thirteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ as written by the apostle John you will find Jesus laying aside His garments, taking up a towel and girding Himself with the towel as He engaged Himself in washing the feet of the disciples. It would be through washing the feet of the disciples that Jesus would demonstrate in an even greater measure the true nature of serving others, for Jesus would declare that if He as their Lord and Master laid aside His garments and washed their feet, so also ought they to do likewise and wash the feet of others. Through the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ we come face to face with the awesome and incredible nature of service and serving the needs of others, for I would dare say that at the very heart of ministry itself is the foundation of service and serving others. You cannot truly believe and cannot truly say that you are qualified to engage yourself in ministry if you are unwilling to serve the needs of others. You cannot and must not think and believe for one moment that you are one who can be entrusted with ministry if you cannot first be entrusted with serving the needs of others before and around you. It is possible to engage yourself in ministry, and it is possible to minister within a local body and congregation, and yet not be a servant and have a servant’s heart. In fact, I would dare say that there are many within the church today who although they are actively engaged in some form of ministry have not discerned the heart of a servant and given themselves to serving the needs of those before and around them. I am completely and utterly convinced that if we are to truly give ourselves to ministry and be truly effective in ministry we must first learn, recognize and understand how to serve the needs of those before and around us. Any true ministry and the very nature of ministry itself has at the very heart and foundation of it service and that of serving the needs of others. We dare not, we cannot, we must not miss and lose sight of this particular reality, for if and when we speak of ministry we must recognize and understand that at the vey heart of all true ministry is that of serving the needs of those before and around us.
When we read the account of Philip in the eighth chapter we must recognize that his story doesn’t begin in and with the eighth chapter, and it doesn’t begin with preaching the gospel concerning Jesus the Christ in Samaria, nor even being used mightily to work great signs, wonders and miracles. The story and account of Philip does not begin in Samaria, but rather, it begins within the city of Jerusalem, and within the early church and body of Jesus Christ in the earth. The story of Philip begins with us learning and understanding that he was a man who like Stephen, and like the other five deacons was full of the Holy Spirit and full of faith. What’s more, is that in addition to Philip’s being full of the Holy Spirit and full of faith, he was also ordained and appointed for service and serving the needs of others. ANOINTED TO SERVE! APPOINTED TO SERVE! CHOSEN TO SERVE! If there is one thing I absolutely love about the account of Philip it’s that his story was one that did not begin with ministry as manifested through signs, wonders and miracles, but rather it began with serving the needs of others. The actual language that was used by the apostles when addressing the concern of the Greeks was “waiting on tables,” which means that we can deduce that that which Philip was first engaged in within the early church was that of waiting tables and serving the needs of others. Now, I have to say that I am fully acquainted and familiar with waiting tables, for I have had a number of different jobs where I have worked as a waiter. I have spent a considerable amount of time taking the orders of others, delivering food to various tables, cleaning up after others as they have sat down to enjoy a meal, and to make sure that all their needs are met throughout their time at one of my tables. If there is one thing we must understand concerning working as a waiter, it’s that when you work as a waiter you are more often than not given a specific section of tables which is considered your section. Within that section may be a group of three or more tables which you are responsible for. There may be times when only one of those tables is sat, and there may be times when two or more tables are sat. It is most interesting when all the tables in your section are seated and you have to work among and with the needs of all those who are seated at the tables within your section. What’s more is when you think about and consider the fact that it is possible for the tables within your section are sat at different times, and when the order of service is different based on when each table with its group of people arrived and were seated. It’s most interesting when you are responsible for the needs of all those within your section and have different time frames for each table, as one table might just be seated and you are preparing them for their dining, or another table just received their meal and you are working to ensure they are taken care of throughout the meal, or it might be that another table is finishing up their meal and are preparing to leave. Regardless of what stage each and any of the tables are at during their time in your section it is your responsibility to ensure that their needs are met throughout their time in the restaurant.
INVITED TO MY TABLE! INVITED IN MY SECTION! I feel a tremendous need to build upon this reality and concept of parties being seated at a table, and even parties being seated within a specific section, and to draw a tremendous application to that which we read concerning the deacons in the early church. The apostles spoke of “waiting on tables,” and ordained and appointed seven men from among the body of Christ to actively engage themselves in the service of “waiting on tables.” I have to admit that when I read those words my mind automatically goes back to my time as a waiter and not only having tables, but also having a section I was responsible for. With that being said, I can’t help but think about service and serving the needs of others, and consider the reality of inviting others to come and sit at your table—a table which you prepare before them in order that you might minister before and unto them. I can’t help but be reminded of having a section when I worked as a waiter, and to consider essentially inviting others into my section—a section within my life where I might give myself to serve their needs and esteem them as greater than myself. Perhaps the single greatest question we might ask ourselves is whether or not we are willing to not only invited others to come to the tables within our lives, but whether or not we are willing to prepare tables before those who are around us. Are we willing to prepare tables within our lives and invite others to come unto those tables in order that we might serve them and meet their needs? Are you ready, willing and able to prepare a table or tables within your life and to invite those around you to come unto those tables in order you might serve them, as well as esteeming them as better than yourself? Stephen, Philip and the other five deacons were specifically ordained and appointed by the apostles to give themselves to “waiting on tables” and serving the needs of others. It’s worth noting and understanding that when we read of Stephen and Philip we don’t read of their being ordained and appointed to work signs, to work wonders and to work miracles, but rather we read of their being ordained and appointed to serve among the body of Christ and work to ensure that the needs of the body were met. Oh, there is something to be said about those who are willing to engage themselves in full service before and unto the needs of others in order that their needs might be met. There is something to be said about those who are willing to make it a priority to esteem others above themselves in order that they might effectively serve and meet the needs they have on a daily and continual basis.
When we think about Philip and what we find and read in the eighth chapter of the book of Acts, we must recognize and understand that the story of Philip doesn’t begin in and with the eighth chapter and working signs and wonders, but it begins in serving the needs of others. The story and account of Philip begins with waiting on tables and with being given to working with and working among the needs of others in order that their needs are met. This is absolutely critical for our understanding, for I am convinced that it was the willingness of Stephen and Philip which positioned and qualified them to be entrusted with the ministry of signs, wonders and miracles, as well as with preaching the gospel concerning the kingdom, and the gospel concerning Jesus the Christ. I would dare say that we are able to read of Philip in Samaria preaching the gospel concerning Jesus the Christ, as well as working signs and wonders because we first read of Philip in Jerusalem waiting on tables and serving the needs of others. This is important for us to pay attention to, for it brings us face to face that there is absolutely nothing that is trivial, and there is nothing that is meaningless and insignificant within our lives, and that everything we do has a purpose in the grand scheme of that which the Spirit of the living God is doing within our lives. What would happen if we began examining our lives and seeing the worth and significance in what we are doing—even if what we are doing is perhaps not what we feel called to do, or even what we would like to be doing with and for the kingdom of God? What would happen if we began seeing the worth and value in that which might in times past have seemed meaningless and insignificant, and truly began seeing the worth and value in the place we find ourselves, as well as in that which we have been given to do? There is not a doubt in my mind that when Philip was engaged in waiting on tables he envisioned himself preaching the gospel concerning Jesus the Christ in Samaria, and yet when a great persecution broke out against the early church in the city of Jerusalem, he departed from the city into Samaria and unto the city of Samaria, and began to be used by God to preach the gospel concerning Jesus the Christ. What’s more, is that it was as a direct result of his preaching the gospel concerning Jesus the Christ in Samaria, and being used to work great wonders, signs and miracles among the people of Samaria that they would believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and would be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. What’s more, is that the people of Samaria—as a result of the preaching of Philip, as well as the confirmation of works and wonders—that they would be positioned to receive the Holy Ghost when the apostles Peter and John came down and laid their hands on them. When we read the account of Philip in Samaria—not only do we read of their being baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, but we also read of their receiving the Holy Ghost when the apostles laid their hands on them and prayed that they might receive the Holy Ghost. That which began with service and serving the needs of others in Jerusalem would eventually lead to ministry in Samaria, as Philip would be launched into Samaria as a direct result of the great persecution which broke out against the church.
As you read the eighth chapter you will not only find Philip preaching the gospel concerning Jesus the Christ in Samaria and working great signs and wonders among them in their midst, but you will also read of his being sensitive to the Holy Spirit as the Holy Spirit instructed him to travel along the road that led from Jerusalem to Gaza. It would be while Philip traveled along that road leading to Gaza that he would encounter the Ethiopian eunuch and would hear him reading the words of the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah concerning the suffering servant. It was as a direct result of Philip’s sensitivity to the Holy Spirit, as well as his being obedient to the voice of the Holy Spirit that he not only came unto this Ethiopian eunuch, but was also able to preach Jesus the Christ unto him based on the scripture he was reading while in his chariot. What’s more, is that Philip would also be used by the Spirit to baptize this eunuch in water after the chariot was brought to a stop by a body of water. That which we find and read in the eighth chapter of the New Testament book of Acts is actually quite remarkable and quite astonishing, for here we find this man who began waiting tables in Jerusalem and serving the needs of those of the body of Christ in the city of Jerusalem, and yet here we have and find him in Samaria preaching Jesus the Christ, working great signs and wonders, and even preaching Jesus unto an Ethiopian eunuch and baptizing him in water. Oh I can’t emphasize and underscore enough the tremendous reality of giving ourselves to serving others and looking for ways to meet the needs of others, and to see worth and value in that which might seem trivial and meaningless within our lives. I can’t help but be brought face to face with the awesome and incredible reality that we have been called to esteem the needs of others as greater than our own needs, and to esteem others as greater and better than ourselves. We are able to witness and behold Philip in Samaria because we first witnessed and beheld Philip in Jerusalem waiting on tables and serving the needs of others within the body of Christ. Oh that we would come face to face with and truly understand the tremendous importance of serving within the he body of Christ, and even serving outside the four walls of the church and that we would look for ways to serve the needs of others. Tell me—how often do you devote yourself to looking for ways to serve the needs of others? How often do you devote yourself to looking for the needs of others in order that you might be used of God to minister unto and meet those needs? The story and account of Philip is not only one of ministry, but it is one that begins with service and serving the needs of others. It was precisely because he was willing to serve the needs of others that he was positioned and qualified to be used of the Spirit to preach Christ in Samaria, as well as to preach Christ unto the Ethiopian eunuch along the road from Jerusalem to Gaza. Oh that we would allow ourselves to come face to face with the wonderful reality that it is service and serving the needs of others—not so we can eventually be entrusted with ministry, but so we can properly demonstrate the nature and character of Jesus the Christ in this life and let our lights so shine before men that they may glorify our Father who is in heaven.