The word for this week is 'SERVANT'.
Few words in the English language carry the importance of the term 'servant'. More often than not, it is thought of as a demeaning title or even label. In a culture where more prefer to be served than serve, this word and those who willingly embrace its requirements remain essential for effective ministry.
Jesus modeled this act of kindness for His disciples as He got up from supper, picked up a basin of water, wrapped Himself in a towel and bent his knee in order to do what needed to be done. From that position of humility Jesus proceeded to do what no one else in the group offered to do. (John 13:5)
Maybe the disciples just didn't think it was important OR maybe they were waiting for one of the others in the group to do something they were all familiar with. It seems that from its infancy the church has battled with a pecking order of sorts. Even among these faithful few, poisonous contempt was present regarding who would be first and who would come after; who would serve and who would be served.
So Jesus, got up and then bent down to provide an example to follow. An example that remains necessary today. It is important to note that Jesus didn't do this to shame these men or even draw attention to Himself. Jesus did this because there was a need and He was able and willing. Not only did Jesus come to seek and save those who are lost, He came to serve those that He came to save. That demonstration of love and kindness remains the benchmark for all who desire to follow Jesus today. However, only as we are willing to deny ourselves are we able to serve others as Jesus did.
Some, in the church refuse this practice because of personal pride. They're able, just not willing to assume the position of a servant. (It's beneath them) Some, in the church today refuse this practice because of their perceived position. They're able, just not available to engage people as a servant. (It's of no benefit to them)
Both attitudes undermine the effective work of the body of Christ because without humility, ministry is hindered.
I recently discovered no less than five characteristics of servant leadership that's worth sharing.
1. A servant leader seeks the glory of His Master John 7:18
2. A servant leader sacrificially seeks the highest joy of those he/she serves Matthew 20:26
3. A servant leader forgoes his/her rights in order to not obscure the gospel 1 Corinthians 9:19
4. A servant leader is not preoccupied with personal visibility or recognition John 3:27-29
5. A servant leader anticipates and graciously accepts the time of his/her decrease John 3:29-30
In a culture where everybody wants to be somebody, many, if not most forget they must become a nobody in order to point people to the only person who is able and willing to save anybody.
So, if you desire to see people saved, as Jesus does, then serve as Jesus did! Anyone that doesn't desire that might need to be saved to begin with.
"Jesus humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross." (Philippians 2:8)
He did that because the need, our need was both present and personal.
May the Lord bless each of us with the grace to bend a knee and the guidance to demonstrate love and kindness this week! And engage the work of being a servant with joy!
1 Corinthians 15:58