1 Corinthians 4:1 Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.
The apostle Paul was a “servant” of Christ. It was a role he chose out of love, not fear.
There were perhaps millions of slaves in the Roman Empire. For the most part, they were treated not as persons but as objects. If a master wanted to kill a slave, he could do so without fear of punishment. Though it was a negative term to the Romans, the word slave meant dignity, honor, and respect to the Hebrews, and the Greeks considered it a term of humility. As a servant of Christ, then, Paul paradoxically finds himself both exalted and debased. This is the ambivalence every representative of Jesus Christ must face.
When I think of the honor I’ve been given to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, I am sometimes overwhelmed. There is no higher calling in life than to proclaim the gospel from the pulpit and to be able to teach the Word of God under the power of the Holy Spirit. Yet there is also a paradox that requires a minister of Christ to realize he does not deserve to minister. He must have the proper perspective of being an unworthy slave who has the incomprehensible privilege of proclaiming the gospel.
MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 13). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.