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The Care of a Servant

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Excerpts from a talk given to the servants of the Diocese at St. George’s church on August 24, 2000‎

Our Lord God said to His disciples, “You ‎will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes ‎to you and you will be witnesses to Me in all ‎Judea, Samaria, and all the earth.” How can I ‎be a witness to the Lord? This is the question. ‎You may be a witness through your own life, ‎through preaching and teaching. ‎
First, the servant is a holy person ‎directing guiding others to a holy life. There is ‎a great difference between a teacher in any school ‎and a teacher of Sunday School. One may speak ‎about humility and meekness; another may be ‎humble and meek and will, himself, become the ‎sermon. The holy person who teachers others may ‎attract them through this own life. They see the ** ‎is practiced in his person and the commandments ‎of God is not heavy. This is why we always ask ‎teachers to prepare the lesson, but to first prepare ‎himself…so that he has an impression on his ‎listeners. ‎
Second, the servant is a person of ‎experience. He knows the ways of God, the ‎difficulties, and how to over come the difficulties. ‎He knows the diabolic wars which may hinder a ‎person’s spiritual life and how to overcome them. ‎
Also, the servant should have a holy zeal ‎and love which urges him always to bring ‎everyone to the church and to our Lord. A person ‎who loves God and loves people and wants all to ‎love God with him. This is a teacher. It is written ‎about our Lord in John 12, “that having loved ‎His own in the world…He loved them to the ‎end.” This is the example of our Lord as a ‎teacher. ‎
If you love your own disciples you can ‎search for everyone who is absent and bring him ‎back. You may even repeat the lesson for him or ‎send others to search for him. We have many ‎youth who are absent–do we love them and search ‎for them? Do we seek after them so that they ‎may return, or do we not care? ‎
The real teacher–and when I say teacher I ‎also mean the priests, deacons, and all the servants ‎of the church–should care for everyone. This is ‎the work of the teacher. The Didascalia says of the ‎bishop that he should take care for the salvation of ‎all. He cares for all to save them. ‎
Do we care for the kids, for the youth in ‎our church? Some youth may reach college and ‎may become lost and stray far from the church and ‎we don’t know if they even return. Luke 15 shows ‎us how to accept the repentance of the lost. We ‎should notice that a person had 100 sheep and he ‎realized that one was lost. How can a person ‎differentiate between 99 and 100? That means he ‎had enough care for every one–even the single ‎person! All teachers of Sunday School should care ‎for every single person under his jurisdiction. You ‎should have care and you should search for the ‎lost to return. ‎
If you have a lot of responsibility and no ‎time, you should prepare a group of person who ‎can do visitations to search for the lost. The ‎successful priest makes many servants work with ‎him, he does not just work by himself. You must ‎prepare people to serve with you. The best servant ‎makes the youth serve one another. In the ‎Protestant church in Egypt when one youth would ‎not come to a meeting, three or four would show ‎up on his doorstep the next day asking about him. ‎Why don’t we do the same? We should have some ‎groups for visitations to ask about the absent and ‎bring back the lost. Does everyone know which ‎youth were at church two months ago and are not ‎there now? When we warn you today, we save ‎you from the judgment of our Lord in the last ‎day. ‎
I want to say something to you: many ‎people are attacked by doubts in theology, in ‎dogma, in doctrine. When they find that they ‎cannot answer these questions and doubts with ‎replies and answers, they leave and are lost. Do ‎you teach in the seminary these problems that ‎attack your youth or scholarly information? What ‎makes our youth so brainwashed that they leave ‎our church? We can find the answers to these ‎theological, dogmatic, biblical, and social concerns. ‎I ask you to please write down these concerns and ‎let us know what is troubling our youth. Do not ‎leave them this way! The difference between a ‎scholar and a teacher is that a scholar has ‎knowledge, but a teacher can present the ‎information in an attractive way to his students.‎
Do not be happy with those who are ‎coming, but take care of those not attending. The ‎problem of the great churches is that it is full of ‎those attending the service. This way, do not think ‎of those who are absent. In 1964 at St. Antonios ‎Church in Shobra, we had one servant who stood ‎at the door of the church taking attendance. We ‎had the largest youth meeting with 500, 600, 700 ‎youth. ‎
But also take care of those who come to ‎church but stand outside. These people come and ‎do not enter the church but stay out speaking and ‎joking. You should take care of these people and ‎search for everyone. ‎
I remember at a servants’ meeting once in ‎our church, a servant spoke very powerful words ‎to us about visitation. At the end of this powerful ‎talk, I commented “Even if we do all this work and ‎bring the lost to our church, what will happen if ‎they come and are not satisfied by the lessons and ‎talks they hear? Then all of this work would be for ‎nothing.” We need a teaching that satisfies, ‎teachers that are full of the Spirit and life or else ‎they will come for nothing. ‎
The teachers should grow in knowledge ‎and increase day by day. They should become ‎deeper and more impressive. If not, it is like a ‎small child who says to himself, “After twenty ‎years I will be like my father.” The boy does not ‎expect his father to grow any older. Our servants ‎cannot expect once they enter the service to ever ‎stop growing spiritually or else the students will ‎also stop growing. The teacher must grow and ‎become deeper in knowledge day by day so that he ‎has an impression on the children in every lesson. ‎In our church every servant used to listen to four ‎lessons before giving one lesson. They attended a ‎meeting for servants, for families, for youth and ‎for adults. This way they were full. So I urge you ‎to keep growing. ‎

And glory be to God forever, Amen. ‎

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