Hello! I hope you are enjoying our extended summer weather, I know I am!
Well, you may have not noticed, but last week I was so busy that I forgot to send the command for the week! So here we are with Command #34: Be a Servant.
The disciples had been growing jealous over who would be the greatest among them. Jesus replied to their self-centered thoughts with His opinion on who will be the greatest. Unlike the princes of the day who ruled with a strong hand, Jesus said, "But it shall not be so among you: But whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister, And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant. Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister and to give His life a ransom for many" (Matthew 20:26-28).
In today's culture in America, we often view serving positions as demeaning and less-than-worthy occupations. It is much more noble to be a CEO, a manager, or an acclaimed writer/athlete/you fill in the blank. These jobs are not wrong, but if we think that having that position will make us greater, than we have false perception of what it means to be great. If we want to be chief in the world's sight than those things may work, but if we want to be seen as chief in the LORD's sight, than we are called to serve, to give, and to put others before ourselves.
I personally don't think I have a problem being a servant...when I know I will be recognized and praised. It is easy to be 'servant of all' and to 'put others before myself' outwardly when I am with those whom I want approval. Isn't it a lot easier to do the dishes at church over your family's piled up mess? or how about making a nice dish for the church meal but rarely taking thought about how you could make your families' meal time more delightful?
Since I think it tends to be easier to serve those outside our family, I want to focus on how we can serve our families...those who won't necessarily shower us with thanksgiving and praise if we do the dishes.
One of the best ways we can serve is to give. Jesus served by giving of His time, His energy, His wisdom, His love, and His own life so that we could be reconciled to Him. He came not to be ministered unto but to minister to others. Wow. The King of kings and Lord of lords came to this evil world and served us, and here I am expecting to be served and to have all my needs and wants fulfilled by those around me! How can you give of your time and energy to an unsuspecting familymember today? "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God hath also highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name" (Philippians 2:5-9).
Someone said, "The greatest test of being a servant is how we respond when treated like one." This is so true, because when I volunteer to serve, I feel very good about myself and my holiness. But if someone else asks me do something that wasn't my idea, my feathers get in a ruffle and I drag my heels. For instance, yesterday my dad asked if I wanted to rub his feet. I replied 'No.' (hey! at least I was being honest--okay there is no excuse for being dishonoring). Then I said, "Let me think about it, I have stuff I want to get done." Then my dad replied, "Oh so you are not available?" I went on doing my own 'more important tasks' before I said I would. By then he had gone to bed and God had reminded me of the Command for the week...ouch.
Here is a great character quality to study: Availability=making my schedule and priorities secondary to the wishes of those I am serving. "And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward" (Matthew 10:42).
-Have I made my schedule and priorities secondary to those God has called me to serve?
-Am I doing my tasks unto the Lord and not for the praise of men?
-What do I need to remove from my life so that I am more available to serve those around me?
"But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted" (Matthew 23:11-12).
Notes adapted from IBLP Commands of Christ study guide and pocket guide