Jesus Christ gave us the ultimate example of servanthood when He washed His disciples’ feet. They were aghast at the thought of their Messiah washing their feet. It was the job of a faceless and nameless servant to wash a guest’s feet. Why did Christ leave us this example? Christ even said it would not be something they would comprehend for awhile:
“Then He came to Simon Peter. And Peter said to Him, ‘Lord, are You washing my feet?’ Jesus answered and said to him, ‘What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.’” (John 13:6-7)
Peter objected and told Christ that He would never wash his feet, to which Jesus answered that Peter could have no part of Christ if He refused. Of course Peter overreacted and wanted Jesus to practically bathe him. The lesson was about servanthood. And Jesus did so to show us that although it is not natural for us, it is required. That is why our Lord set the example.
The Apostle Paul wrote often of servanthood and along side that he taught about having the mind of Christ. He did so with the Philippian church as he was sending them his beloved Timothy:
“But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, that I also may be encouraged when I know your state. For I have no one like-minded, who will sincerely care for your state. For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus. But you know his proven character, that as a son with his father he served with me in the gospel. Therefore I hope to send him at once, as soon as I see how it goes with me. But I trust in the Lord that I myself shall also come shortly.” (Philippians 2:19-24)
The more things change; the more they stay the same!
Paul knew that he had no one like Timothy that he could rely upon to serve the church in a sincere and caring manner. Why? Because Paul had raised Timothy up in the ministry and knew he had the mind of Christ, like a father knows his own son.
There is an old adage that 80% of the work in the church is done by 20% of the people, and that includes all areas of ministry: tithing, teaching, daycare, etc.
Too many people come to church to have their needs filled. When I say this to Christians, many give me the “What’s wrong with that look?” If you are wondering the same thing, please find me in the Bible where it says we are to go to church to have our needs filled. I’ll be right here.
I don’t want to sound too hard on those who seek churches that are friendly to their emotions and perceived needs because I know personally how natural it is to put ourselves first. As Paul says in Philippians 2:21:
“For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus.”
Jesus’ brother James wrote about a dead faith because it lacked works:
“What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,’ but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” (James 2:14-17)
What James is describing here is just good old fashioned carnal selfishness. This is the opposite of spiritual selflessness or a Christlike servanthood attitude. Although Paul uses Timothy as an example of a servant’s heart, no doubt Timothy—like the rest of us—had to work at this. Warren Wiersbe writes:
“In Timothy’s experience, we learn that the submissive mind is not something that suddenly, automatically appears in the life of the believer. Timothy had to develop and cultivate the ‘mind of Christ.’ It was not natural for him to be a servant; but, as he walked with the Lord and worked with Paul, he became the kind of servant that Paul could trust and God could bless.”
For those of us who live in the “I want it now microwave” world; that is not good news. You’re telling my I can’t just go to the iTunes store and download the servanthood app?!! Geez!
That’s right, we have to work for it and for that to happen you have to want it. We work for those things we want.
So, are you being served or do you serve? If the former, is it because you don’t want to serve? I think if each of us were to search our hearts we would see that when we refuse to serve it is because we refuse to deny ourselves. This is antithetical to Jesus teaching us to die to ourselves daily:
“If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” (Luke 9:23)
So as far as I can tell, we have a choice to make. We can be like Timothy and choose to serve the Lord by walking with Him and working with others (specifically a mentor), or we can be like the majority of Christians that Paul knew in his day he could not rely upon and choose to serve ourselves.
It is up to us. It always has been:
“And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15)
Beloved, I will be out of town tomorrow so I wish you a blessed early weekend and remind you to please go to church on Sunday.
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Copyright © 2011 David Jeffers