by Dorette Saunders
Don’t you just love it when Jesus turns our worldly expectations upside down? How we view things is quite often different from the way God does. The things we value is often not worth a penny in Jesus’ economy, and how we think the way things “ought to be,” is simply not so.
After responding to the mother of two of his disciples asking for a place of honor for her sons in God’s kingdom (Matthew 20:20-23), Jesus tells the disciples how they can attain honor. Our Lord explains that God honors us when we serve him and others, humbly and faithfully.
“….If you want to be great, you must be the servant of all the others” (Matthew 20:26, CEV).
Having the heart of a servant is what God values in his people. Yet, for many of us, it takes a long while for our hearts to achieve such a posture. This is true especially if we believe we have worked long and hard to achieve recognition in the eyes of our peers, and the on-looking world. We human beings love the trappings of honor. We get special status. We are ushered to special seats. We dine away from the common folk. We scowl if our names and titles are omitted, or misspelled, and bristle if the special alphabet behind them is missing.
While it’s acceptable to be honored, and to work hard to achieve a level of human success, Jesus tells us that we ought not to define ourselves by those things. We are who God says we are—servants of the Most High God and of each other.
Are you willing to serve? Or do you want to be served? Servanthood, especially servant leadership is hard, dirty work. Just look at Moses leading a raggle-taggle group of rebellious, complaining people out of Egyptian bondage (Exodus 14:11).
Better yet, look at Jesus, healing, teaching, preaching, and yet being vilified by the establishment in the temple, and even among the people that he came to serve (Mark 11:17-18). Watch closely as Jesus washes Judas’ feet even though he knew that Judas would soon betray him (John 13:10-14). Servanthood, as defined by God, is love.
So being willing to serve is not just donning an apron and a smile. It is more often than not, being willing to lay down your pride, your right, your expectations of who and what deserves your attention, help, and your love.
Getting our hearts in this position is a job for the Holy Spirit since, in our own flesh, we have no desire to move over even a tiny bit from our comfort zones. Yet, clearly, Jesus tells us how we need to act:
“If you love me, you will do as I command. Then I will ask the Father to send you the Holy Spirit who will help you and always be with you” (John 14:15, 16, CEV).
Yet, even as we serve, we must remind ourselves that acknowledgment of our service may never come. But what does come, is the deep satisfaction that we have obeyed God and have made a difference in the life of someone else.
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, give us a clean heart so we might serve you. Hide your Word in our hearts so that the Holy Spirit can do his work in us and through us. Let serving others be our joy. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.