The son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister. Matthew 20:28.
Paul’s idea of service is the same as our Lord’s: “I am among you as He that serveth”; “ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.” We have the idea that a man called to the Ministry is called to be a different kind of being from other men. According to Jesus Christ, he is called to be the ‘door-mat’ of other men; their spiritual leader, but never their superior. “I know how to be abased,” says Paul. This is Paul’s idea of service—‘I will spend myself to the last ebb for you; you may give me praise or give me blame, it will make no difference. So long as there is a human being who does not know Jesus Christ, I am his debtor to serve him until he does.’ The mainspring of Paul’s service is not love for men, but love for Jesus Christ. If we are devoted to the cause of humanity, we shall soon be crushed and broken-hearted, for we shall often meet with more ingratitude from men than we would from a dog; but if our motive is love to God, no ingratitude can hinder us from serving our fellow men.
Paul’s realization of how Jesus Christ had dealt with him is the secret of his determination to serve others. “I was before a perjurer, a blasphemer, an injurious person”—no matter how men may treat me, they will never treat me with the spite and hatred with which I treated Jesus Christ. When we realize that Jesus Christ has served us to the end of our meanness, our selfishness, and sin, nothing that we meet with from others can exhaust our determination to serve men for His sake.