Towels Before Titles

By Ryan Dawson

How do you describe yourself when people ask you who you are?  How we answer this question reveals much about our lives.  The Apostle Paul begins his letter to the Roman church like this…   “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God.”  (Romans 1:1 (NIV).  While this description reveals much about Paul, it also helps us evaluate our lives.  

Paul is first and foremost a servant of Christ Jesus.  Before Paul was called to be an apostle, a leader in the Church, he needed to learn to be a servant.  Paul was a brilliant and zealous man who accomplished much in his lifetime, but Paul needed to learn humility before God elevated him to a position of authority.  Left to his own devices he would default to self-sufficiency.  

It’s true for us as well.  We need to learn to follow before we can lead, we need to pick up our towel before we get a title.  If we forget that we are “servants of Christ” we will seek to serve ourselves when we are given more responsibility and authority.  Followers and leaders who forget they are servants of Christ will use people for their own agenda.  But following in the footsteps of the One who came to serve and not to be served, keeps us grounded and dependent on God.  Look for opportunities today to serve rather than expecting to be served.  

Paul was called to be an apostle.  God chose Paul for His good purposes.  Paul would lead and minister out of his identity in Christ and not his resume and success.  He would take his role as an apostle very seriously and he worked tirelessly to honour God and share the Good News of Christ.  Paul was free to lead with excellence because of his calling.  

When we understand that we have been called to be a disciple of Jesus, and that God has a unique purpose and role for us in His redemptive work, it allows us to operate with freedom and fervour.  We can lean hard into the work God has for us knowing that our performance and worldly success does not determine our value as a person.  Our identity is secure in Christ, and we are loved and accepted by God before we do anything for Him.  Remember who you are in Christ and live from this foundation today.  

Paul was set apart for the Gospel of God.  When Saul was on the road to Damascus, with malicious intent to persecute the Church, he met Jesus Christ – and this changed everything for Paul.  The life he knew previously was in the past, and now his life was oriented around the person and mission of King Jesus.  He was “set apart” for the Gospel, which is the Good News of God’s love and forgiveness, made possible through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  

Does the Gospel of Jesus inform the way you live and lead?  Is your relationship with Jesus Christ central to who you are and what you do each day?  As we experience the Good News for ourselves, we can then share this incredible reality with other people.  We are blessed to be a blessing so look for opportunities this week to share God’s love through word and deed.  And the next time someone asks you about yourself, remember that first and foremost, you are a servant of Christ, called to be a disciple of Jesus, and set apart for the Gospel of God, wherever you live work, play, and go.  

It's a joy to be on the journey with you,
Blessings,  Ryan