July 25, 2012

Leading Learning

Everything depends on whom you are following. Phoebe was a servant (diakonos) worthy of commendation (Rom. 16:1).1 Teachers deserve commendation. They are among earth’s greatest servants. I should have reviewed all instances of the term, comparing usage according to author and context (literary, historical, etc.), within and outside of Scripture. Instead, I simply used Accordance Bible Software’s Key Dictionary of the Greek New Testament. I learned that a diakonos is “a waiter (at table or in other menial duties); specially, a Christian teacher and pastor.” “Menial duties.” Definition depends entirely on whom you are listening to. And lexicons may confuse by defining Scripture’s terms according to Gentile usage. Everything depends on whom you are following. And Jesus thinks quite highly of diakonos. “The rulers of the Gentiles,” He notes, “lord it over them. . . . But whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your [diakonos]” (Matt. 20:25, 26). Menial is a perspective thing. Everything depends.

“The power of the educator is in [their] heart connection with the Light and Life of the world. . . . [They] will not be great in [their] own estimation. . . . [They] will feel the truth of the words of Christ, ‘Without me ye can do nothing.’ Such teachers as these are greatly needed.”2

Jesus’ contrast is absolute: you can follow the Gentiles’ way, or you can follow Him. You can be a teacher, or you can be a Christian teacher. Everything depends on whom you are following

1 All Scripture quotations in this editorial are from the New American Standard Bible, copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
2 Ellen G. White, Councils on Sabbath School Work (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald, 1938), p. 168.

Lael Caesar is an associate editor of the Adventist Review. This article was published July 26, 2012.