“But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant.” Matthew 23:11
Let’s begin with a question. What is a servant? A servant is one who serves another, putting the needs of others above themselves. So who can be a servant? Can you and I? How about a husband, a wife, a parent, or a leader?
As followers of Jesus, we look to Him as our example in all things. Though He was the most outstanding leader, Son of the Most High God, possessing all power and authority, He exemplifies for us the humble life of a servant. He washed his disciple’s feet. He forfeited sleep in order to fast and to pray. He withdrew to recharge on time alone with the Father, yet compassion compelled Him to give of Himself some more. He is the King of all kings, yet was despised, spit on and beaten. This was the example He chose to set for those of us who follow.
Noting how He lived forces us to ask ourselves the question: “How are we doing in this area of putting others before ourselves?” When is the last time we served someone? And if we serve, do we give in order to receive?
Our motivation for giving is just as important as the act itself. In giving, we ought not to reserve the best for ourselves, giving the leftovers to others. We are to do unto others as we would want them to do for us. Would we want second best? Someone’s left overs that are worn out or unusable?
We need to change the way we think about giving. It is not defined in terms of money. We can give our time. We can give our clothing. We can give up temporary rest, toys, food, or talents.
When we give and serve, we show love. Jesus said the most important thing is to love him and next is to love our neighbors. Love has great power to break walls. I remember many occasions when I chose love when it was not first being given to me. And in doing so, circumstances changed. Here is one particular story:
For several months I was faced with a difficulty in communicating with the accountant of the company where I work. I did not get the answers I needed. It was a large firm, and so they sent my questions from one person to the next and at the end, I fell between the lines. I was frustrated by the situation; however, I decided to go in person to their office and to go with an attitude of humility. While there, I gained understanding that everyone was under pressure with a lot going on. Through a humble approach, the atmosphere changed and I got the answers I needed.
Now whether or not the outcome was in my favor, was not the point. The point was that Jesus saw my heart and could work with an attitude of humility.
Another example is when I was serving my wife by helping around the house. At first, I desired her praise for the things I did to help her. But being focused on myself, I missed the many things that my wife had done. I soon recognized that I needed not to praise myself or seek my own glory, but to lift and encourage my wife for all the work that she had done.
Today, I challenge you to seek for an opportunity to serve someone around you. How? By first praying and listening for the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We all have something to give and there are many ways for us to do so. If we submit to Him our willingness to serve, He will open those doors of opportunity for us to serve both for His glory, and for our joy and others.
God bless you.