Are You Ready For Servanthood?

Let’s talk about what it means to be ready for servanthood, the art and practice of being an effective servant.  We tend to think of a servant as being in a lowly state with low pay and low esteem as seen by others in society.  However, Jesus said (Matthew 20:26), “whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave” (servant).  So this means that if we want earthly greatness (significance), instead of seeking power and authority, we should seek to be a servant.  

Jesus was our role model as a servant.  Mt 20:27 records Jesus as saying, “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.”  There can be no greater role as a servant than to give one’s life.  In Philippians 2:7 Jesus Christ is described as having “made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant.”  In our society you might have seen or heard the expression, “Land of the free because of the brave.”  Many have lost their lives in our armed services serving the rest of us.  Look around you to see the many who are happily serving others today.

An outstanding example of servanthood was recorded by Luke (1:38) where he quotes Mary, the Mother of Jesus, as saying, “I am the Lord’s servant . . .  May it be to me as you have said.”  Mary was told of the servant role God had determined for her and she readily accepted it.  Another example of servanthood in the Bible is “the good Samaritan” (Luke 10:25-37).  When others refused to help the stricken man, the Samaritan became his servant even though from a different culture.

What are we to do as a servant?  John (12:26) records Jesus as saying, “Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be.  My Father will honor the one who serves me.”  Think about that statement.  “Where I am, my servant also will be.”  So when we find Jesus Christ, that is where we are also to be.  Jesus Christ took on the “very nature of a servant.”  This means being devoted to service for others.  Jesus offered us salvation, eternal life in Heaven.  There is no greater gift.  Yet in His life on earth, He modeled servanthood, the behavior dedicated to serving others, even when the world He was serving rebuked Him.  

You might be thinking, how would I make things happen as a servant?’  Robert Greenleaf in his book Servant as Leadersaid, “The servant-leader is first.  It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve.  Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead.  That person is sharply different from one who is leader first.  The leader-first and the servant-first are two extreme types.”  A servant-leader seeks to empower others and through this a whole organization is lifted.  

This brings us to thinking about how each of us could be a servant.  To be a servant requires an attitude that says that we love others and we want the best for them.  We add the willingness to exert our own energy to secure what is best for them.  The opportunities are boundless whether in our own family, our friends, those we see everyday or complete strangers.  One final thought from Scripture; 2 Timothy 2;24 tells us we need to be a “workman approved by God.”  “And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.”  Servanthood means looking for ways to serve others and then performing that service without thought of any reward.  Servanthood requires no further preparation.  It can start now.

Study Questions 

These study questions are intended for use with God’s Plan for Service, Are You Ready For Servanthood?  The primary purpose of the study questions is to help the reader to more fully grasp the significance and implications of the topic. 

  1. How would you define servanthood?
  2. What is your attitude toward others?Are you ready for servanthood?
  3. Think of three instances in which Jesus was a servant to others.

May God continue to bless you.  

Kenneth Oosting, Ph D – [email protected]

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