Body piercing has become pretty much acceptable just in the last ten years. Studs are placed in a hole or piercing to make a permanent decoration. I have seen a fair amount of it, and I think that a stud in the tongue has got to be the most intrusive. (I recently read of a young girl who died after her tongue was pierced from an infection).
There is “body piercing” in scripture. In Deuteronomy 15:12-18, slaves who are being set free by their master after six years of service, could, if they loved and were loved by their master, could choose to remain a slave to him.
“But if your slave says to you, “I don’t want to leave you,” because he loves you and your family and has a good life with you,17 stick an awl through his ear into the door; he will be your slave for life. Also do this to a female slave.”
This was a decision that required elders to act as witnesses. It was significant as well as completely binding. I like to think of the ceremony to be kind of a cross between a wedding and a circumcision. (Sounds fun, huh?!)
The slave would be led to a doorpost and the master would take an awl, and push it through his ear lobe. This designated the slave to be forever “owned” by a specific master. Herein lies a picture of the Christian.
Many times in the New Testament we are called to be servants (slaves) of Christ.
Peter, Paul, James, and Jude referred to themselves as “bond servants of Jesus Christ” in their epistles. This is not a forced servitude. It’s a choice made in love!
There are many believers who have done the same, they have fallen in love with their Savior. They do not plan on a life apart from Him. So spiritually they have gone to the doorpost, the awl is pushed through their ear, and they are marked from that point on.
Although the ear was pierced physically in the Old Testament, a different kind of piercing takes place in the New. In Romans 6:16 we read,
“Surely you know that when you give yourselves like slaves to obey someone, then you are really slaves of that person. The person you obey is your master. You can follow sin, which brings spiritual death, or you can obey God, which makes you right with him.”
Romans 6:16, (NCV)
When the prodigal son returned home from the far country he fell before his father and humbly ask, “make me your servant.” (Luke 15:19,21) He, in essence, was saying to the father, “pierce my ear.” The father made him a son, but the attitude of the son’s heart had changed to the heart of a servant. So it must be with us. Only then will we live a “pierced ear” life, revealing to all that we are servants of Jesus Christ!
“Savior, I know Thou hast allowed me absolute liberty, to serve Thee, or to go my own way. I would serve Thee forever, for I love my Master. I will not go out free. Mark my ear, Lord, that it might respond only to Thy voice.”
“Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.”
Some Christians reading this part of scripture, have concluded that foot washing should be part of the Churches customary routine. Their case is compelling, and they may be right in their interpretation. There is as much support for this as with other things, and Lord knows we could use the humility by getting on your knees with a basin and towel before a brother.
It probably would relieve issues between saints. It may even heal Church splits. (Oh my!)
Jesus pronounced that His act of service was to be imitated by everyone who would follow. He further would assert that His example would be emulated by every believer that followed after Him. Our service to our brother, or sister is to help them become clean Christians.
We have this ministry of the basin and towel to remove the dirt and filth that comes from walking in this world. Of course, we cannot remove sins. But we can serve as Jesus would and intervene with His power.
Cleansing people we encounter will be a demanding challenge.
It will call us to strip our lives down to a minimum, and to get lower. We need to get so low that we’re on the floor. This requires much grace and discipline. We must weed out every pretense and pride–especially the kind that says, “Look at me serving; am I not wonderful? I am a true disciple now.” We are to shake off thoughts like that.
We are to love others, and perhaps be honestly brutal on ourselves. (Not in a morbid way, just less of ‘yourself.’)
While in my first year of Bible college, I developed a bitter dislike for a classmate. He had been a lead guitarist; he was handsome and popular, and he oozed pride from every pore (at least I could see it). I actually took it on myself to be God’s hand in humbling him. I became antagonistic and scorned him every chance I could.
Within days, my prayer life shut down, the heavens became brass. One day I was praying and the Holy Spirit graciously zapped me. I became aware of my sin toward my brother, and I repented. There was a real definite leading, to find a basin and a towel, and then to wash his feet.
God reconciled us, as I kneeled at his feet in that dorm room. From that point on we became very good friends.
We must go lower still. Water always finds the lowest point, were it pools and gathers into the place of healing others. Perhaps the Holy Spirit will not lead us ‘deeper’ until we start practicing true humility.
When we lower ourselves even deeper we find His presence waiting for us. But we must cleanse our own hands first, and His blood must work its ministry on me. It’s then I can proceed to clean the filth off of their feet. If I am not clean myself I will only perpetuate the dirt on to my brother with my dirty hands.
We must scrub our way into the heart of our sister and brother with a basin and towel.
The challenge for us will be a super-challenge. Christlikeness will always demand this humble grace. When we think about being like Jesus we must make sure we are following the Jesus in the Bible. The Jesus who washed dirty feet as a slave.
Let us not have any foolish nonsense of a discipleship that doesn’t kneel before our brothers in humility.
Every now and then, I come across something that will not fit into the scope of Brokenbelievers. This is one of those times. I share it with my brothers and sisters who serve Jesus in any leadership capacity in the Church. I think it’s fitting that this be shared as we step into 2022. These are challenging times to serve him; but not dangerous–at least not yet.
The Prayer of a Minor Prophet was originally written on August 18, 1920. It still means a lot to ordained/non-ordained serving in the ministry. I suppose it still speaks to every leader in every Church. You may want to copy and keep this for those hard times that will come to each of us.Could it be that you might want to share this word with the leaders of your local fellowship?
The article was written on the day of Tozer’s ordination into the ministry.
O Lord, I have heard Thy voice and was afraid. Thou has called me to an awesome task in a grave and perilous hour. Thou art about to shake all nations and the earth and also heaven, that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. O Lord, my Lord, Thou has stooped to honor me to be Thy servant. No man taketh this honor upon himself save he that is called of God as was Aaron. Thou has ordained me Thy messenger to them that are stubborn of heart and hard of hearing. They have rejected Thee, the Master, and it is not to be expected that they will receive me, the servant.
My God, I shall not waste time deploring my weakness nor my unfittedness for the work. The responsibility is not mine, but Thine. Thou has said, “I knew thee – I ordained thee – I sanctified thee,” and Thou hast also said, “Thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak.” Who am I to argue with Thee or to call into question Thy sovereign choice? The decision is not mine but Thine. So be it, Lord. Thy will, not mine, be done.
Well do I know, Thou God of the prophets and the apostles, that as long as I honor Thee Thou will honor me. Help me therefore to take this solemn vow to honor Thee in all my future life and labors, whether by gain or by loss, by life or by death, and then to keep that vow unbroken while I live.
It is time, O God, for Thee to work, for the enemy has entered into Thy pastures and the sheep are torn and scattered. And false shepherds abound who deny the danger and laugh at the perils which surround Thy flock. The sheep are deceived by these hirelings and follow them with touching loyalty while the wolf closes in to kill and destroy. I beseech Thee, give me sharp eyes to detect the presence of the enemy; give me understanding to see and courage to report what I see faithfully. Make my voice so like Thine own that even the sick sheep will recognize it and follow Thee.
Lord Jesus, I come to Thee for spiritual preparation. Lay Thy hand upon me. Anoint me with the oil of the New Testament prophet. Forbid that I should be come a religious scribe and thus lose my prophetic calling. Save me from the curse that lies dark across the modern clergy, the curse of compromise, of imitation, of professionalism. Save me from the error of judging a church by its size, its popularity or the amount of its yearly offering. Help me to remember that I am a prophet – not a promoter, not a religious manager, but a prophet. Let me never become a slave to crowds. Heal my soul of carnal ambitions and deliver me from the itch for publicity. Save me from bondage to things. Let me not waste my days puttering around the house. Lay Thy terror upon me, O God, and drive me to the place of prayer where I may wrestle with principalities and powers and the rulers of the darkness of this world. Deliver me from overeating and late sleeping. Teach me self-discipline that I may be a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
I accept hard work and small rewards in this life. I ask for no easy place. I shall try to be blind to the little ways that could make life easier. If others seek the smoother path I shall try to take the hard way without judging them too harshly. I shall expect opposition and try to take it quietly when it comes. Or if, as sometimes it falleth out to Thy servants, I should have grateful gifts pressed upon me by Thy kindly people, stand by me then and save me from the blight that often follows. Teach me to use whatever I receive in such manner that will not injure my soul nor diminish my spiritual power. And if in Thy permissive providence honor should come to me from Thy church, let me not forget in that hour that I am unworthy of the least of Thy mercies, and that if men knew me as intimately as I know myself they would withhold their honors or bestow them upon others more worthy to receive them.
And now, O Lord of heaven and earth, I consecrate my remaining days to Thee; let them be many or few, as Thou wilt. Let me stand before the great or minister to the poor and lowly; that choice is not mine, and I would not influence it if I could. I am Thy servant to do Thy will, and that will is sweeter to me than position or riches or fame and I choose it above all things on earth or in heaven.
Though I am chosen of Thee and honored by a high and holy calling, let me never forget that I am but a man of dust and ashes, a man with all the natural faults and passions that plague the race of men. I pray Thee, therefore, my Lord and Redeemer, save me from myself and from all the injuries I may do myself while trying to be a blessing to others. Fill me with Thy power by the Holy Spirit, and I will go in Thy strength and tell of Thy righteousness, even Thine only. I will spread abroad the message of redeeming love while my normal powers endure.
Then, dear Lord, when I am old and weary and too tired to go on, have a place ready for me above, and make me to be numbered with Thy saints in glory everlasting. Amen.
Written in 1950, Aiden Wilson Tozer was 23 years old when he was called to pastor a new church in Clarksburg, West Virginia. On August 18, 1920 at a campground a few miles outside Cleveland, Ohio, leaders of the Christian and Missionary Alliance scheduled an ordination service.
After the formal ceremony, Tozer slipped away from the crowd and found a quiet place to be alone with God. He never forgot what he prayed that evening and years later as the new editor for the Alliance Weekly, Tozer published his prayer in an article “For Pastors Only: Prayer of a Minor Prophet” (May 6, 1950).
He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.
John 3:30, NLT
Before our Lord appeared, John the Baptist had incredible popularity. Thousands and thousands came to him as he preached in the wilderness of Judea. However, when Jesus initiated His own ministry, people left in droves to follow Him. Imagine having a wildly successful thing going, and the next day having it fizzle.
I have discovered that it is one thing to be the center of attention, and quite another to be a minor player. John the Baptist was the MVP, but overnight he was sent to the farm team (baseball metaphor). Men and women reach for center stage, to be in the limelight. But very few can move in the other direction gracefully.
A conductor was asked what the hardest instrument to play. The interviewer expected that it would be a saxophone or trombone or some other. The conductor just smiled, and said, “The hardest is the second violin”.
“How great victory was that which Jonathan must have gained over himself, when he rejoiced to see David raised above him! He discerned the mind of God in David, and had so learned to delight in God, that he did not see in David one who was to outshine him, but another faithful man raised up for God and Israel.”
–Robert C. Chapman
Jonathan understood who David really was. He had a sense of who was to be the new king. He had a conviction that understood David’s destiny and giftings. Jonathan turned his back decisively on being made king. Ambition was not in his vocabulary. He could rejoice with David. Knowing this, Jonathan became a free man.
We must not aspire to being a leader as much as learning to become a true follower.
The need at the moment isn’t so much better leaders, but stronger followers. Often we struggle with this, somehow we believe, we’ll become “second class” disciples if we submit to another’s vision or giftings. The way of true servanthood is difficult for many. But to be a real follower will often mean not to strive or assert, but to surrender. That’s the way of Jesus.
“Be desirous, my son, to do the will of another rather than thine own.”
That is an interesting place to find yourself. But that is the need of the moment. He must increase, become greater, and I must decrease, become lesser. There can be no room for personal aggrandizement.
We need people who know how to play second fiddle.