Service at the heart
Do you currently find yourself where serving may have started as devotion but has now turned into duty?
Serving can be enjoyable…preparing a meal for friends and family, babysitting grandchildren, volunteering at church or in the community. But let’s be honest, some days being a servant is incredibly exhausting. A mom with preschoolers who seldom gets any alone time; caring for an aging parent whose days are filled with doctor’s appointments and a list of errands; grandparents unexpectedly raising their grandchildren; medical staff at a hospital who seldom sit down and provide the most basic of care; teachers surrounded by young children all day with few breaks; and the list goes on and on. Do you currently find yourself where serving may have started as devotion but has now turned into duty?
In Mark 10:45 Jesus spoke to his disciples: “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.” Right before this, Jesus gave them a glimpse into where he would soon be going as he predicted his death. Though He knew what lay before him, Jesus boldly and confidently pressed on.
James and John didn’t understand and in fact, they were focused on their needs rather than the needs of others. They sought position and power in the kingdom of God. Their request goes against the very lessons Jesus had taught and the example of humility He had set.
“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death–even death on a cross!” Philippians 2:5-8
The disciples missed that the throne Jesus was about to take was not a kingly throne, but a wooden cross. The crown He was about to wear was not a crown adorned with precious stones, but a twisted crown of thorns. The cup He was about to drink was not refreshing and sweet, but filled with suffering and hardship.
Jesus explained that His kingdom is not about privilege, power, authority and prestige, but about serving, shepherding, sacrificing and loving. Jesus desires that believers care more about serving the needs of others than serving ourselves. He desires we value submission and servanthood above position and power. It’s in our submission and suffering that we are open to be used by God to expand His kingdom for His glory.
Serving is humbling ourselves and taking the role of a servant, not to be ministered to or be waited upon, but to minister to and be gracious to others.
“The greatest among you must be a servant. But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Matthew 23:12
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” Matthew 25:40