Ready for Any Task - The Warrior's Journey®

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“Paul gathered a pile of brushwood and, as he put it on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand. When the islanders saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to each other, “This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, the goddess Justice has not allowed him to live.” But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects. The people expected him to swell up or suddenly fall dead; but after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god.” (Acts 28:3-6) 

Paul is gathering wood for a bonfire. Didn’t they have underlings who could do that sort of work? Paul is an apostle. He’s a man who hears from heaven and who’s responsible for the survival of everyone from the shipwreck. Must he soil his hands with a private’s detail? Shouldn’t he merely supervise the work? Shouldn’t he strut about, looking important with his arms folded or with his hands on his hips?   

Not Paul. Paul knew that leadership in the Kingdom of God is all about being a servant. That’s what Jesus said. “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:43-45). Therefore, Paul took his place among his fellow prisoners and sought to be a blessing by any means that availed itself. And that way was by gathering wood for the fire. Yet it led to more opportunities to be a witness for Christ. 

You know, in all my years as an Army chaplain, I’ve had to continually remind myself that, regardless of my rank, I’m first and foremost a servant of Jesus Christ. The day I allowed rank to go to my head would be the day I placed a barrier between myself and the Soldiers I seek to serve. It’d be the day I became useless to God – and the Army.   

I recall one dreadfully hot summer day in South Korea. It was the first day of a major field training exercise. Earlier in the day I found out that I had just been passed over for promotion and felt deeply disappointed. I also found out that day that I was nothing more than part of a detail to set up tents – one week in advance of all the officers coming down to kick off the main part of the exercise. Disappointed over the Army’s rejection and feeling slighted by my command, I felt like taking our vehicle back to our comfy headquarters. But, there among the soldiers I had a chance to be a blessing – even if by doing the work of a private, though I was a lieutenant colonel at the time. So, I joined in carrying hundreds of pallets, hammering stakes, lifting poles, and setting up tents. It was dirty, miserable, and hot. But it set the tone for some effective ministry.   


  • Does Jesus ask us to do anything He wouldn’t do Himself? 
  • When Jesus washed His disciples’ feet, He did something they refused to do. 
  • No slave is above his Master. Let’s humble ourselves that He may exalt us. 

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