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

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.