“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. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10: 43-45 NIV
Serving is not natural for humans. We prefer to be preferred. We are born as helpless beings that need constant attention and care. Parents meet all our needs, photograph us more than presidents, and come running anytime they hear but a whimper. As we grow older, most of us believe we are the center of the universe and everyone else is paying rent.
It was no different with the 12 disciples. They were always clamoring for status and position. They wanted the choice seats at dinner, and to stand right next to Jesus as the crowds cheered him. Mark records the above conversation and with three verses, Jesus shatters the paradigms that had become cemented in their thinking.
Notice they were not scolded for wanting to be great or desiring to be first. In other conversations, Jesus encouraged them to lay up treasure in heaven and to do good works. The disciples, like many of us today, were focused on what they could get from God and others and not what they could do for God and others.
This is completely counter-cultural because society tells us to get ahead at all costs and to promote ourselves at every opportunity. Instead, we are expected to do good things for people we may not like and expect nothing in return until we get to heaven. The problem is heaven seems so distant and we want instant returns on our investment. This is why most people talk about serving but never become servants.
I have met true servants and I want to be one someday. Right now, I wrestle with selfishness, ego, narcissism, and an addiction to comfort. However, I am allowing the Holy Spirit to change my heart and I invite you on the journey with me. Servants can change the world but there are so few of them right now.
May 23, 2009 at 12:30 pm
The last sentence is almost true. We do need more servants and to have the servant attitude Jesus had. But there are so many that have literally given their lives in service of others. Monday we celebrate that through Memorial Day. As we connect with neighbors, relax, grill hamburgers & hot dogs, we must remember and give thanks to all those who have given much with little in return. Jesus taught there is no greater gift than to give one’s life for someone else. We need to care for orphans and widows; but let’s not forget those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice so that we have the opportunity to serve others. To all our brothers and sister who are fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq and police and firemen who risk their lives daily: THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR SERVICE AND SERVANT ATTITUDE! WE APPRECIATE YOU!
June 1, 2009 at 9:29 am
I commend your honesty, Pastor Brady, regarding the things with which you are wrestling. The truth be known, many of us might admit to struggles in the same areas. Unfortunately, the only way most of will disclose with such honesty is to ourselves or to a spouse, so that the disclosure doesn’t “get away from us” – i.e. someone ELSE bring our shortcomings to our attention. It reminds me of a passage in Job 34:31-33:
31For has anyone said to God, I have borne my chastisement; I will not offend any more;
32Teach me what I do not see [in regard to how I have sinned]; if I have done iniquity, I will do it no more?
33Should [God’s] recompense [for your sins] be as you will it, when you refuse to accept it? For you must do the choosing, and not I; therefore say what is your truthful conclusion. (AMP)
I hate it when in a moment of transparency and humility I admit to someone a wrong action or attitude only to have them observe the repeated offense(s) at a later date when I may not be as willing to admit the truth of their observation. It’s at that moment of truth that we have the opportunity for the dying-to-self process to affect us in a deeper and truly transforming way. Ouch!
August 6, 2009 at 10:28 am
Beginning in January, I have prayed for the LORD to give me a servant’s heart. Throughout this year, HE has provided opportunities for me to be a servant.
Thank you for posting this blog.