I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service. (1 Tim. 1:12)

Temple Gairdner has been called “the apostle of Arabic Christianity,” and with good reason. He left a ministry with students at Oxford University in 1898 to tackle one of the most difficult assignments in the kingdom—a mission to Muslims.

Sent to Cairo by the Church Missionary Society, Gairdner focused on Egypt’s educated classes and brought the gospel to them in innovative ways. He was a pioneer, and others are still building on his foundation.

Although few may have noticed it at the time, the key to Gairdner’s success was apparent in his very first public prayer. His words were brief and to the point: “O God, you know that I do not want anything else but to serve you and [others], always, all my life.”

We hear a lot about leadership today, and we should. Leaders are critically important. But leadership in the New Testament is always expressed through servanthood. Paul was an apostle—he said so in the greeting of this letter—and that leadership was expressed through faithful service to God and others. After all, the root word for minister in the New Testament literally means “to wait on tables.”

Can you picture that powerful symbol? A servant, carrying a towel, bending low to work at menial tasks in service around a table at mealtime, perhaps for a party of twelve? It sounds vaguely familiar.

Enter the opportunities through the door marked “Servants’ Entrance.”

Bob Black is professor emeritus of religion at Southern Wesleyan University, where he served for thirty-two years. Along with Keith Drury, he coauthored the denominational history, The Story of The Wesleyan Church.

© 2019 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.