42 Jesus called [his disciples] together and said, "You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 43 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."
In the text at the top of the page Jesus says that he came, not to be served, but to serve. Have you ever thought about what it meant for God the Son to be a servant? If it is our objective to be Christ like, then we have to understand servanthood, because service is at the center of Jesus' heart. Php 2:5-7 gives us a clearer picture of Jesus' heart attitude when it says: “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.”
Vicki and I once had a young man working with us on a house remodeling project. He was a nice young man but he was a poor helper. He wanted so badly to be helpful that he would do things we hadn't ask him to do. His helpfulness often cost us time and materials because he was doing what seemed right to him . . . not what fit into our plan. Christians often do the very same thing with God the Father; they do what seems right to them and then call it ministry. Jesus, on the other hand, lived to do the will of His Father. He said and did only what God instructed Him to do; I know this because in Jn. 12:49 Jesus Himself said: "The Father who sent me has commanded me what to say and how to say it." He didn't serve by doing what he wanted, he served by being obedient . . . "Not my will but yours be done." Richard Foster put it this way in, Celebration of Discipleship: “Right here we see the difference between choosing to serve and choosing to be a servant. When we chose to serve, we are still in charge. We decide whom we will serve and when we will serve. . . But when we choose to be a servant, we give up the right to be in charge, we surrender the right to decide when we will serve. We become available and vulnerable.”
So why must servanthood be such a great part of the Christian life? There are several answers to that question. Here are the most obvious:
· It glorifies our Lord
· It advances His kingdom
· It cultivates our humility
· It teaches us to value others
· It matures us as Christ followers
But don't be mistaken about this . . . being a servant isn't easy. It is something that smacks the natural man with his prideful sinful nature right in the face. People want to choose. People want to decide. People want to be right. They don't want to obey. Sometimes even Christians fail to see another's need because they are so focused on their own. Sometimes they are unwilling to give because they forget that "The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it . . ." (Ps. 24:1). Sometimes they miss hearing God's still small voice because they are busy talking about their own plans or problems. And sometimes they are afraid to get involved in ministry and serve others because they haven't really learned to believe and trust God themselves.
The important thing to remember here is that servanthood is an attitude of the heart. It is Jesus' attitude and the heart attitude of every true Christ follower. It is also the only pathway to greatness in the kingdom of God.
--- Pastor Keith Andrews