Illustration results for servanthood
The whole area of service is a very important one in the Christian life. The importance can be seen in the difference between the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea in the Holy Land. The two bodies of water are connected by the Jordan River in a direct north-south line along the Great Rift Valley. Clear, sweet water from underground springs flows into the Sea of Galilee. And the Sea of Galilee flows south into the Jordan. Galilee is a gorgeous, active lake, full of life that has sustained fishermen in the region for millennia. The Dead Sea, by contrast, is a shallow, selfish basin with no outlet. It hoards the water that flows into it. Some water evaporates, leaving behind brackish, clouded water so dense that swimmers bob like corks. The whole sea is dead.
When we as Christians have no outlet of service, we too can become spiritually dead, and stagnant. Instead of our faith being attractive, life giving and fruitful, we become as off-putting as a stagnant pond.
“’Servant’ in our English New Testament usually represents the Greek doulos (bondslave). Sometimes it means diakonos (deacon or minister); this is strictly accurate, for doulos and diakonos are synonyms. Both words denote a man who is not at his own disposal, but is his master’s purchased property. Bought to serve his master’s needs, to be at his beck and call every moment, the slave’s sole business is to do as he is told. Christian service therefore means, first and foremost, living out a slave relationship to one’s Savior (1 Corinthians 6: 19-20).
James Packer, Your Father Loves You, Harold Shaw Publishers, 1986.
What is servanthood? It’s a question we have to answer because today the concept has largely been abandoned by our culture. In his book, The Jesus Style, Gayle D. Erwin described servanthood this way:
"A servant’s job is to do all he can to make life better for others - to free them to be everything they can be. A servant’s first interest is not in himself but others … Servanthood is a loving choice we make to minister to others."
Gayle D. Erwin, The Jesus Style, 48
What is it to serve God and to do His will? Nothing else than to show mercy to our neighbor. For it is our neighbor who needs our service; God in heave...
William Law made a lasting impact upon 18th century England with his book, A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life. In it, Law urges this Christian that every day should be viewed as a day of humility. And how does he suggest that we do this? By learning to serve others. Law understood that it is with the discipline of service that one gains humility. If we want humility, he urges us to, “give in to all the weaknesses and infirmities of your fellow-man, cover their frailties, love their excellences, encourage their virtues, relieve their wants, rejoice in their prosperities, be compassionate in their distress, receive their friendship, overlook their unkindness, forgive their malice, be a servant of servants, and agree to do the lowest offices to the lowest of mankind.”
James Hunter in his book “The Servant” presents a powerful picture of what it really means to be a leader/servant. He shares: leadership is ultimately rooted in our will. Not forcing our will on others, but demonstrating our will to serve.
There is a big difference between leading through power and leading through authority.
Many people can simply force people to do what they want because they have the power to make them. However, few people like to be forced to do anything. Eventually such “power driven leadership” destroys relationships.
On the other hand, some have the ability to lead through authority. Authority is different than power. Power is something you have and force on people. Authority is something you gain – it’s given to you by the people you lead.
How does one gain authority from those they lead? Only through service and sacrifice. When people see that you have their best interests at heart, when they see you are willing to sacrifice and serve them they will be willing to follow. That’s servant leadership, that’s authority.
Of all the classical Spiritual Disciplines, service is the most conductive to the growth of humility. When we set out on a consciously chosen course of action that accents the good of other and is for the most part a hidden work, a deep change occurs in our spirit.
Nothing disciplines the inordinate desires of the flesh like service, and nothing transforms the desires of the flesh like serving in hiddenness. The flesh whines against service but screams against hidden service. It strains and pulls for honor and recognition. It will devise subtle, religiously acceptable means to call attention to the service rendered. If we stoutly refuse to give in to this lust of the flesh we crucify it. Every time we crucify the flesh we crucify our pride and arrogance” – Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline p.114
Eleven years ago, Walter Levine was diagnosed with multiple myeloma – a type of bone cancer. Today he dedicates his life to helping others beat the disease. He says, “Ninety-nine percent of everything you do in life is attitude. If you have a relationship with God and you have the right attitude, you’re going to learn to ask the one ques...
“Service that is duty-motivated breaths death. Service that flows out of our inward person is life, and joy and peace. The risen Christ beckons us to the ministry of the towel. Perhaps you would like to begin by experimenting with a prayer that a number of us have used. Begin the day by praying, “Lord Jesus, I would so appreciate it if You would bring me someone today whom I can serve.”
Everybody can be great ... because anybody can serve. You dont have to have a college degree to serve. You dont have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.