Part 5. “A Servant”

 "Whoever shall be great among you, shall be your servant  And whoever shall be the chiefest, shall be servant of all." Mark 10:43-44

It is not part of man’s nature to desire to be a servant. One might choose to take up employment with a nice family as their servant, but we are not even given the choice of those we might serve. Jesus says we should be ‘servants to all’.

A servant’s job is to make life better for others - to release them to be what they can be. He has to be others-centred. Jesus does not call to a coerced slavery but He invites us to make a loving choice to serve others. This servanthood is birthed out of love - and you can only love by choice.

I am interested when I read about the fullness of the Spirit in Ephesians 5:18

The following three verses are the three evidences of a Spirit-filled life. Note particularly, verse 21: ‘be submitted to one another in the fear of Christ’.

Paul then goes on to show how such submission, such servant heart, is demonstrated in the home and work. “Wives, submit to your own husband”. “Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved you”. “Fathers, do not provoke your children” but set them the example, mentor them, serve them!

When we talk about servanthood, we must be very careful not to be manipulated. People love to use (more correctly, abuse) those who would serve them. They love to ‘take advantage’. Serving is not ‘grovelling’ before another. When we allow someone to manipulate us, we are not doing them any favours! We are not truly serving them in love. eg; “I thought you said you are a Christian......” “Aren’t Christians supposed to do that?”

Notice they tried the same thing on Jesus. (Mark 12: 13-15). One of the chief ways of manipulation is flattery. One of the best defences is humility.

Another manipulation that Satan can use is to make us feel guilty when we see the tremendous needs of the world. We can get so overworked trying to serve everyone. We are not God and cannot do more than He asks of us day by day.

There is an interesting verse in Mark 10:42. I am amazed as I see how far we are from this injunction. “You are not to be like that!” But we are as we imitate the ruling structures of the world with its power pyramid. The principle of being servant to all is devastating to chains of command and systems where submission is upwards. In the kingdom of God, the power pyramid is reversed, upended so that authority rests at the bottom, not the top. When Jesus talks about submission, it is always directed downwards. eg; in Matt 20:17 He expressly says, “whoeverwill be chief among you, let him be your servant.” Instead, we ‘lord’ it over others because we do not recognise their worth.

Isn’t it time we identified heresy of practice!!?

Of course, I did not have far to look when seeking a Biblical example of a servant. Jesus said, “I did not come to be served, but to serve and to give my life as a ransom for many”. He is the supreme example. But then, of course, He is the greatest!

At the Last Supper - He washed the disciples’ feet – including those of Judas! He sets the example, and that is what all servant leaders should do.

[ Continue to Part 6 ]
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