Once a week he went to their mobile home. Jimmy first met this family at church. They were young, maybe in their 40s. "Jack" was in a wheelchair. Jimmy went to their home one week. He mowed the yard while he was there. Then one week while he was visiting with Jack, "Sue" arrived home from the grocery store. Jimmy took the groceries in and even helped put them in their place. This was the beginning of many, many visits to come. Each week, Jimmy mowed the yard and then visited with Jack. Meanwhile, Sue went to the grocery store and bought groceries. Jimmy was always there to help her unload just before he returned home. I think Jesus would have seen Jimmy as a servant.
Jesus used the word. We really use the word. I am just not sure we mean what Jesus meant when we use the word "servant."
Sometimes, the most arrogant sounding businessperson or minister will use this term to refer to himself. Does the word communicate? Yes. I’m just not sure the word communicates what Jesus meant when he used the word. After all, this word doesn’t just refer to a particular work that one might do, it also communicates a certain spirit or attitude.
Now here are a few principles:
When being a servant looks
prestigious, you are probably missing the point!
Some people want position and power and have the gall to talk about it openly. Most of us use more subtle ways of getting the
advantage. Jesus’ closest followers
did not understand Jesusâ€™ talk of death (Mark 9:32).
They did understand the self-promotion that was at the heart of
We sometimes forget that it is not position
that determines greatness but service.
what itâ€™s like to want prominence, position and power. We know what it is to want the
advantage. Frederick Nietzsche spoke of
â€œthe will to powerâ€ as the basic human drive.
In a marriage, power can be used to bully, control and intimidate. Anyone who is married knows where his/her
mate is most vulnerable (weight, height, appearance, etc.). There are men and women who have used their
power to destroy each otherâ€™s sense of self-worth. Tony Campolo, Christian author, says the one
who loves the most in a relationship has the least power. Marriage often becomes a battleground for power.
friends spend a good deal of energy trying to gain the advantage. This happens when we practice a kind of
one-upmanship in our conversations. Think about some of the things we say to one another:
canâ€™t believe youâ€™ve never heard of _______.
Everybody knows about that.â€
canâ€™t believe you bought that car. Donâ€™t
you know there are some real problems with those cars?â€
- â€œThatâ€™s nothing, you should have seen
what happened to me.â€
Being a servant is not the way
to greatness. It is greatness.
that being first or being great does not mean that you have an advantage over
someone. Greatness is not a goal so that you can maneuver
yourself into the right position. Jesus says
that whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all. This person lives for others.
is not holding a position. It is serving
people. To simply hold a position says
nothing about greatness.
- Great may describe the teacher who is
always on time and well prepared to teach three- and four-year-olds and yet may
get very little, if any, recognition.
- Great may be the person who drives an
elderly person to the doctorâ€™s office.
- Great may describe the ministry of that
person who makes the extra effort to get involved in others’ lives.
- Greatness is
defined by whether or not we serve people in practical, specific ways.
Just been thinking about this one this week. In your experience, have the Christian leaders in your world modeled what it means to have a servant heart? Or, have they modeled something else? How does a leader’s ego either enhance or damage the credibility of the leader?