John Newton on Servanthood

“If two angels were to receive at the same moment a commission from God, one to go down and rule earth’s grandest empire, the other to go and sweep the streets of its meanest village, it would be a matter of entire indifference to each which service fell to his lot, the post of ruler or the post of scavenger; for the joy of the angels lies only in obedience to God’s will.”

So wrote John Newton, the one-time slave-trader turned slave of Christ and author of “Amazing Grace”.

While I know there’s a kind of ambition that’s godly and pure – the kind we see motivating Paul to preach Christ wherever he has not been named – I’m also convinced there’s a lot that passes for godly ambition that is, in reality, wretched and self-serving.

The hard thing is knowing the difference in yourself (or in others). The only true test is the test of service, that is, how you feel about the place the sovereign God has placed you in.

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