Do you see yourself as God’s servant? The term “God’s servant” is thrown around frequently in the Christian community, but do we really identify with that? Really embrace it? Or, do we feel a bit uncomfortable saying, “I am God’s servant, here to do His will”? The “self” is uncomfortable with being called a servant. The Spirit embraces it.
Jesus Defined Himself as a Servant
Jesus came to serve. He told us so by what He SAID. In Matthew 20:28, Jesus said, “…just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Also, in Luke 22:27 Jesus said, “But I am among you as one who serves.”
Jesus came to serve. He told us this by what He DID. The most striking example is when He washed the disciples’ feet in John 13:12-17: “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet”. (Washing someone’s feet is considered low, menial work, in Jesus’ time or any time period!)
Simply put, “…he went around doing good…” (Acts 10:38)
Jesus Calls Us to be Servants
As Jesus came to serve, we are called to go and do the same:
Jesus 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. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.” (Mark 10:42-44–also found in Matthew 20:25-28 and Luke 22:24-27)
When Jesus washed the disciples’ feet in John 13:12-17, He taught them (by word and example) that they were to do the same: “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things you will be blessed if you do them.” In John 12:26, Jesus said: “My Father will honor the one who serves me.” God’s honor –what a beautiful promise to those who serve Jesus!
And what are we to make of our service? Jesus said, “So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’” (Luke 17:10—read the entire story in Luke 17:7-10).
“Serving” vs. “Being a Servant”
There are many people, many Christians, who are active in service. Not all of them have a servant’s heart. Some people are just natural “do-ers”. They like to be active, to accomplish things, meet goals, and “ get things done”. I know; I was one of them. Others like the fact that they feel good about themselves when they are active in service. If that is the case, and the emphasis is on themselves, is that truly serving as Jesus instructed?
Having a servant’s heart is going deeper than this. It is not just what you do on the outside, but the attitude you have on the inside as you do it. It is a “close up and personal” look at the heart, at how you see yourself as you are performing the act of service (see 1 Samuel 16:7).
I would venture to say there are few people with a servant’s heart, including myself. As God draws me closer into relationship with Him, as I study Jesus’ life and what Jesus said, there is no doubt that Jesus calls ME to die to self (Luke 9:23-24) and become a servant, to Him and to other people.
How do we go from accepting the theory of being a servant to actually adopting the attitude and lifestyle of a servant? How do we actually become a servant of God and a servant to all people? God alone can change a person, renew their nature, give them a new heart (Ezekiel 36:26) and new desires; in short, a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). So what is the key? We will explore this in the next post of The Jesus Said Project.