I am a Servant

Follow the Leader

But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you.  But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:25-27 ESV

I grew up next door to two boys, whom I loved like brothers. The three of us spent our warm summer days in our connecting yards, playing kick ball, chase, dump trucks and … follow the leader.  Whoever was the lead kid in our line of three had free reign to leap, spin, clap, and dance.  The other two had follow suit.

We are all grown up now, and I’ve committed myself to a very different leader – Jesus Christ Himself. But the rules remain the same.  I am to imitate my leader, do what He does, follow suit.

Jesus was a servant. He not only washed the disciples’ feet, he laid down His life for them. So, if I am to follow his lead, I, too must devote myself to serving others.  I must not look out for my own advancement, for a better title or position.  I must simply serve.

That’s hard. Because I want “ME” to be the center of every conversation and the focus of every activity.  But it’s not my Leader’s way.  To imitate Him, I must think of others before myself.  I must do more than think. I must actively put them before myself.

That means I need to put my children’s needs before my own tiredness. My husband’s needs before my own plans.  My church’s needs before my own schedule. I must serve my co-workers and friends.

Because I’m following the Leader.

I am a Servant

Serving Outside of the Lines

So He got up from supper, laid aside His robe, took a towel, and tied it around Himself. Next, He poured water into a basin and began to wash His disciples’ feet and to dry them with the towel tied around Him.  – John 13:4-5 HCSB

Spiritual gifts. It’s a trendy topic in Christendom, right? Ready for some ugly honesty? Sometimes (not always) I get annoyed with it. Yep. Annoyed.

Have we each been blessed with a spiritual gift? Yep. Are we called to use our spiritual gift(s)? Yep. Is service restricted to spiritual gifts? Y…uh, wait. Huh. I’m so sorry, but it might get uncomfortable here for a minute.

I’ve never, ever, ever met a mommy who would claim to have been gifted with diaper refreshment skills. Never met one (and remember I have four kids, and with that, a pretty extensive circle of mommy-friends) who would check a spiritual gift box labeled ‘enjoys screaming toddlers, especially for extended periods of time’.

I’ve never met a person who would claim the spiritual gift of chair-stacking. Or broom pushing. Trash-emptying. Window washing. Dish scraping.

Foot washing.

Service isn’t bound by these gifts. Often the call to serve stretches beyond God-given talents and abilities. It goes into the nitty-gritty not-so-pretty. So, when a call goes out for help in an area that is maybe outside our gifted-lines, maybe we shouldn’t be quick to write it off. “That’s just not in my giftedness,” isn’t really Biblical.

Sorry, I went all preacher on you. I needed to, though, because the thing is, I really want to not serve in an area that just doesn’t ‘float my boat.’ I’d love to call the coordinator of that ministry and say, “You know what, this just isn’t one of my gifts. Could you take me off the list?” But the thing is, there’s a need there, and I am capable, even if I’m not ‘gifted’ in it. Right now, they need hands that are willing. So I need to make my hands willing.

After all, the hands that formed the heavens and the earth washed the feet of sinful men.

I am a Servant

Inconvenient Servanthood

I am the Lord’s slave,” said Mary. “May it be done to me according to your word.” Then, the angel left her. Luke 1:38 HCSB

She was a teenager. An angel showed up and told her that she’d be the mother of the Messiah – the, um, virgin, unmarried mother of the Messiah.  She could have responded with a bunch of arguments: “Wait a second.  What is Joseph going to think?  He’ll never believe me, and I’ll lose him for sure.  And the scandal in town is going to ruin him … and me … and my mother.  Mom will be so embarrassed that we’ll have to move.  Couldn’t this wait until after Joseph and I are officially married?  I mean, that would be a lot easier on me.”

But Mary didn’t talk back to that angel who delivered the bizarre, stressful message. She didn’t tell him that this was incredibly inconvenient and would ruin her reputation.  She made a simple statement: “I am the Lord’s slave.”

And the world was given its Savior as a result.

Did God make it easy for her? Well, in some ways, yes.  He did send an angel to Joseph, too, but not before Mary had to have the awkward, painful discussion with him.  And God gave her the comfort of her family member Elizabeth, also miraculously pregnant with John the Baptist.  But Mary still had to endure the gossip and shame.  She had to ride on a donkey to another town while 9 months pregnant.  She had to give birth in a barn.  And, years later, she had to watch her baby be crucified.

No. The task God assigned Mary wasn’t easy.  Or convenient.  While there was joy, it was joy mixed with suffering.

God has a task for me, too, and for you. The tasks may be different.  They may change daily or in a few years.  Those tasks are not often easy, or convenient, or fun.  But our response should be as Mary’s.  “I am the Lord’s slave.”

Taking our eyes off of ourselves and placing them on our God means He can use us to reach His world … instead of just reaching our own comfort goals.

Being the Lord’s slave is hard. But the rewards are worth it in the end.

I am a Servant

One of Many

“I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth.  So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.” –  1 Corinthians 3:6-7, NASB

It’s too easy to define myself by what I do, and so dangerous. Either way, there’s a slippery slope. If I fail, then by defining myself by what I do, I’m a failure. If success is sprinkled on my path, then I’m successful–and that leads to arrogance.

Serving the Most High God is a privilege. He calls those whose hands are willing for His kingdom beloved. Beloved! The King of Kings calls His servants beloved. How utterly amazing is that? If I’d just stay right there, right in his loving embrace, then maybe I wouldn’t get myself in trouble.

Guess what? I don’t. Instead of hearing Him call me beloved, I busy myself with His work, which I’m supposed to, but in the doing, I’m defining. Look at this successful ministry. Look at the wonderful thing my child has done. Look at the fruit of my labor… Look at me.

The parable of the sower has three elements: the seed, the soil, and let’s not forget, the sower. But the thing is, many are called to sow. It’s not me all by my onesies doing the will of God. And the focus in that parable wasn’t ever on the sower, was it? Because the fruit of the Kingdom was the point.

I am one of many. Called, appointed, and equipped. And it’s a privilege to serve the Most High God. But it isn’t about me. It was never about me.

I am a Servant, Uncategorized

I Am A Servant of the Most High

Don’t you know…you are slaves of that one you obey—either of sin leading to death or of obedience leading to righteousness? But thank God that, although you used to be slaves of sin, you obeyed from the heart that pattern of teaching you were transferred to and having been liberated from sin, you became enslaved to righteousness. –Romans 6:16-18, HCSB

From Jen:

There are two types; willing or unwilling. But all are servants. Either to the Most High God, or to the prince of this earth. Slavery isn’t optional; it simply is.

The willing types? They fall into both categories. Some ultimately and knowingly chose rebellion. But here’s the interesting part: the Servants of the Most High God are always willing. Always.

Where do you fall?

From Susan:

When I was 8 years old, I chose to serve God. I may have been quite young, but I certainly understood that I was making a choice, one that would last a lifetime.  At that moment, God sealed me as His servant forever.

Of course, as I grew older, there have been seasons when I’ve gotten confused. The world offers many pretty baubles to its servants, and their glitter has attracted me more than once.  I’ve taken steps toward them, hands outstretched, even reached out to touch their brightness on occasion.

But without fail, my true Master has called me back. His Holy Spirit inside of me has convicted me.  “No, Susan.  True peace is not found there.  Come back to me.”  He’s never forced me.  But His love compels me.  And, quite honestly, the emptiness of the world’s offering is always disappointing.  And that, too, turns me on my heel running – willingly – back to my Master.

My Father.

My God.