True Servanthood

Blog 2021.02.03

Have you ever noticed that in many religions, cults, and movements, the leader is served by his followers? They dote on him. Send him money. Scramble to make sure every imaginable "need" is met. It's almost as if they live to make their leader happy, comfortable, and content.

What a dramatic contrast that is with Jesus. Jesus did not come to be served by others but to serve them. He wasn't worried about His comfort but the comfort of others. He did not lead by being served, he led by serving others. He calls us to do the same.

The challenge for us as Christians is that sometimes when we endeavor to emulate the servanthood of Christ, we muddle our identity and self-worth in our service. Sometimes we then resort to a "checklist" mentality. I just helped with this big service project, I am all set! And then we feel we are ok to ignore the other tugs at our heart to help others. And sometimes instead we get on the "holiness treadmill," running ourselves ragged in serving as we try to feel as if we are worthy. But neither is what God wants for us.

As we serve, we must be keenly aware of our connection, our kinship, with God. As we serve Him through serving others, we must remember who we are and whose we are.

Jesus was the Son before he was the Servant, and his relationship with the Father was defined by love and acceptance. It is no different for us when we accept Jesus as the Son of God who died for our sins and are adopted by God as His sons and daughters. We become a child of God first before we become His servant. Though both roles define us, all that we do as a servant flows from our relationship with the Father.

Now, take heart. Here’s a mind-blowing, counter-cultural thought. In Christ, you are someone before you do something. What you “do” for God, no matter how “great” it is, will never change how much God values you and loves you. Already. Before you even do a single thing.

Siang-Yang Tan wrote of how our connection with Jesus affects our service for him in his book, Full Service: Moving From Self-Serve Christianity To Total Servanthood.

“... out of this deep, intimate, loving friendship, with him and in him, he has led me, by the power of the Holy Spirit, into true servanthood in loving ministry to others. I am serving my best friend who loves me more than I can ever realize this side of the kingdom. My ultimate identity is as a friend of Jesus, a friend of God, and a beloved child of God (John 1:12). True servanthood is not slavery to others or doormat servitude. True servanthood is relational. It starts with passionately longing for and loving Jesus with full surrender or the sweet ache of letting go. There is deep joy, comfort, and fulfillment in knowing Jesus so intimately. True servanthood is founded on deep friendship with Jesus: Walking with Jesus daily. True servanthood is all about serving our best friend.”

Personal Study Time And Reflection Questions:

Continue reading in the Gospel of Mark 4:35-6:6.

As you read, reflect on how Jesus served people. Reflect on the kinds of needs Jesus met, how he met them, and how his service elicited a faith-response.

Can you recall a time in your life when you believed in faith that you needed to do something but at the same time you may have been scared to do it? How did you find the courage to do what was necessary? How did you feel once the action was completed?