By Robert C. Canton

In John 14:12, Jesus says, "Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father." And what are these "works" that Jesus was referring to? Healing the sick and setting the captives free; opening blind eyes, making the lame walk, cleansing lepers, making the deaf hear, raising the dead to life, and proclaiming the good news to the poor. (cf. Luke 7:22).

Indeed, we are called to do the works of Jesus. We are called to be God's servants. One of the biggest missions that the Lord calls us to do is to "live" and to preach the Gospel and to bring lost souls to Him. In his letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul, one of Jesus' greatest apostles and servants, says, "For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the Gospel, and not with the wisdom of human eloquence, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its meaning."(1 Cor. 1:17).

There may be varied and various missions that the Lord calls us to do, but for sure we need the anointing, the power of the Holy Spirit to accomplish them all. If we truly want to serve God with all of our heart and mind by doing His works to further His Kingdom here on earth and to manifest His manifold glory, then we must call on Jesus to let His Spirit empower each one of us. Jesus says, " If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth, which the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows it. But you know it, because it remains with you, and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you." (John 14: 15-18).

The Catechism of the Catholic Church #768 states, "So that she can fulfill her mission, the Holy Spirit bestows upon [the Church] varied hierarchic and charismatic gifts, and in this way directs her. Henceforward the Church, endowed with the gifts of her founder and faithfully observing his precepts of charity, humility and self-denial, receives the mission of proclaiming and establishing among all peoples the Kingdom of Christ and of God, and she is on earth the seed and the beginning of that kingdom."

Definitely, the Lord desires for us to be His effective servants for His Kingdom. As servants, we should strive to achieve our Master's goals and purposes for His honor and glory and for the building up of His Church. Let us explore some of the attributes or characteristics of an effective servant of God:

  1. Focused on the Master. The eyes, heart, and mind of an effective servant should always be focused on his Master, our Lord Jesus Christ. "Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith." (Heb. 12:1-2). If we take our eyes off Jesus, chances are we are going to sink into the depths of despair and failure. This was exactly what happened to Peter when he took his eyes off Jesus while he was walking on a stormy night in the Sea of Galilee. (cf. Matt. 14:22-30).
  2. Obedient to the Master. Only in obedience to the Lord and His commands that we will be able to accomplish the tasks that lie ahead of us. The Lord God says in Deuteronomy 4:1-2, "Now, Israel, hear the statutes and decrees which I am teaching you to observe, that you may live, and may enter in and take possession of the land which the Lord, the God of your fathers, is giving you. In your observance of the commandments of the Lord, your God, which I enjoin upon you, you shall not add to what I command you nor subtract from it." In the Gospel of John, we read, "When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, "They have no wine." Jesus said to her, "Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come." His mother said to the servers, "Do whatever he tells you."(John 2:3-5) Only in doing what the Master tells him to do that a good servant can see "things" happen in his life.
  3. Demonstrate humility before his Master and fellow servants. One way to make a great impact on a "lost and dying world" is to be a humble servant. St. Paul, in Phil.2:3-8, says, "Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, each looking out not for his own interests, but also everyone for those of others. Have among yourselves the same attitude that is also yours in Christ Jesus, who, though He was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God, something to be grasped. Rather, He emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, He humbled Himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross."

    Nothing pleases the Master more than to see a servant who exhibits a humble and a pure heart. "And Jesus called them to him and said to them, 'You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.'" (Mark 10: 42-45).
  4. Willing to give glory to his Master. "So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10:31). Everything that the servant will say or do should be directed for the greater glory and honor of his Master, Jesus Christ. How can a servant achieve this? By the power of the Holy Spirit. A servant should be filled with the Holy Spirit, opened to the promptings by the Holy Spirit, led by the Holy Spirit, and anointed by the Holy Spirit in order for him to become like his Master. 'Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says the Lord Almighty." -Zech. 4:6. Everything that Jesus ever did and said while He was walking on this earth was designed to give glory to His Heavenly Father. And as our Master, Jesus called us to do the same.

God bless you all!
Bob Canton
Member, Vatican-based ICCRS Council
National Coordinator, AFCCPC