Word of the Week: Servant


Alan Smith tells the story about a boss complaining in his staff meeting that he wasn’t getting any respect from his employees.

Later that morning he went to a local sign shop and bought a sign that read, “I’m the Boss”. He then attached it to his office door.

That afternoon, when he returned from lunch, he saw someone had taped a note to the sign that read:

 “Your wife called, she wants her sign back!”

Of course, everyone desires respect.  We like the feeling of being in control.  Of being the big dog.  Of being the boss.  Seeking to rise to the top is a very natural desire in our competitive world.

However, if we are to become like Christ, we are called to a different attitude.  A different feeling.  A different position.

Matthew records a time when James and John’s mother came to Jesus, knelt down, and requested a favor.  “What do you wish?”  Jesus asked.

“Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom.”

Jesus responded that she didn’t understand the nature and seriousness of her petition.  This request, however,  displeased the other disciples.  So, Jesus called them together and shared this insight about His Kingdom.

“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them.  Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant.  And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave —   just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”   (Matt 20:25-28)

Our word of the week is “servant.”

101 times the New Testament uses the word “servant,” “serve” or “minister”  Jesus is called a “holy servant.”  In the Old Testament the Messiah is pictured as a “suffering servant.”  Jesus’ attitude and life was servant minded.  “He went about doing good.”  He humbled himself.  Washed feet.  And served the disciples.  Jesus is our great example of “servant-hood.”

Author Rick Warren in his best-selling book,  The Purpose Driven Life, expresses it this way:  “You were put here to make a contribution.  You weren’t created to consume resources—to eat, breathe, and take up space.  God designed you to  make a difference with you life…You were created to add to life on earth, not just to take from it.  God wants you to give something back.”

Christians should be servants.  Consider these 9 Biblical bullet points.

1. We are saved to serve (2 Tim. 1:9)

2. We are called to be servants. (1 Pet. 2:9; 2 Tim. 1:9)

3. We are created in Christ for good works (Eph. 2:10)

4. We are commanded by Christ to be servants (Mk. 10:43-45)

5. We serve based on our gifts (Rom. 12:6-7)

6. Our service in the body of Christ is interdependent.  We need each other (Rom. 12:3-5)

7. We are to serve one another with the motive of love (Gal. 5:13)

8. Our service builds up and edifies the body of Christ (Eph. 4:11-12)

9. We will be rewarded for service (1 Cor. 3:8)

Too often in churches we think of the preacher as “The Minister.”  Or service being left up to the elders.  Or deacons.  And while it is true that each of those have a special ministry, it is clear from the teaching of the Bible that ALL Christians should seek to serve others.

Make “servant” more than the word of the week.  Make it your attitude!  Your action!  Your practice!  Jesus’ servant says, “I Care.”  “I Love.”  “I want to help.”  My friend Phillip Mullins once observed, “We communicate betters with deeds than with talk.  Love is never sweeter than when expressed with service.”

–Ken Weliever

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