“For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.” (1 Corinthians 9:19)
The glorious liberty of the children of God is not only a freedom from sin and death, but a freedom from man. The fear of man brings a snare. (Prov. 29:25) David boldly proclaimed: “In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me.” (Psalm 56:11)
On the other side of that same coin, God frees us from coveting the good of men. When Naaman sought to reward Elisha with a blessing for the healing he received, the prophet responded: “As the LORD liveth, before whom I stand, I will receive none.” Naaman was insistent, but Elijah stood his ground. “And he urged him to take it; but he refused.” (2 Kings 5:16) Elisha’s covetous servant though fell into the snare that his master avoided.
Jesus remained true to God because He sought all from God. He knew that those around him had eyes for what man could do for them. They could be bought because they sought the reward of men. They could be manipulated because they wanted man’s honor and feared his reproach.
The servant of God is the true servant of men. All he does is ultimately out of love for God. He will lay down his life for his flock because of his devotion to God. The hireling is a pretender who is in it for himself. He serves because he is being served. He stops giving when he stops getting. His ministry is tied to what people are doing for him. How different was the ministry of Paul: “And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.” (2 Cor. 12:15)
What a great example we have been given in scripture by God’s own Son and His faithful servants. Until, like them, we are “free from all men” we will never be free to serve God and others as we should. Our eyes will be directed toward men because in their hand is the power to help or hurt us.
Let us look instead to our God. He will supply for our every need, and grant us the desires of our heart as we delight in Him. He will preserve us in the midst of this evil world until He is ready to receive us to Himself and give us the reward we have only wanted from Him.
“My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.” (Psalm 62:5)