Summary: It is hard for modern American Christians to get their minds open to the mind of Christ on this issue because it goes against the grain of our culture. The New Testament, however, is loaded with teachings about being servants.
When soldiers for the 6th Massachusetts Militia were attacked, and many were wounded at the
start of the Civil War, they were brought to Washington, D. C. Clara Barton had been a teacher in
Massachusetts, and she recognized some of the wounded soldiers as her former students. She went
to the hospital to help, and she discovered that no one was prepared for this emergency, and the
supplies were short. Other trains began to arrive with the wounded, and Clara appealed to her
friends for supplies. Barrels of food and bandages were being sent to her.
Many of the wounded died because it took so long for them to get treatment. She kept moving
closer and closer to the scene where they were wounded until she ended up right on the battlefield.
She became known as the Angel of the Battlefield. She escaped death through all four years of the
Civil War, even though wounded men she was treating were shot as she was aiding them. She was
like a angel being guarded by an angel.
After the war Lincoln asked her to take on the enormous task of locating the 80 thousand
missing men, and report to the families if they were found dead. This was another four years of
work. In 1869 she went to Europe for her own health. While there the Franco-Prussian War
broke out, and she volunteered her services. She was again nursing the wounded. She saw the
efficiency of the Red Cross at work. She came back to America and for 5 years labored to get
legislation through Congress for the United States to join The International Red Cross. She
succeeded, and in 1882 the U. S. branch was established. At age 77 she was on the battlefield
again in the Spanish-American War. She died at age 91 in the year of 1912.
Her lifetime of service to others all began with service within her own home. When she was
11 years old her brother had an accident and was ill for two years. She became his nurse and
developed such a love of meeting the needs of the suffering that it became her passion for the rest
of her life. She gave her life to serving others, and was very conscious of the presence of Christ.
She quoted Jesus: "In as much as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye
have done it unto me." Then she added, "I never in my life performed a days work at the field that
was not grounded in that little sentence." She was asked how she could endure all the horror of the
battlefield, and she replied, "You must never think of anything except the need and how to meet it.
Then God gives the strength, and the thing that seemed impossible is done."
Her life illustrates one of the hardest lessons in life for us to learn, and that is that greatness is
not measured by what you get, but by what you give. We have the same problem as the disciples
had because we think greatness and successful living has to do with the position, power, and
prestige we get in life, rather than the service that we give in life. It is such a hard lesson to learn
because all of the media constantly bombard us with the opposite message that life does consist in
the abundance of your possessions, and that the key to greatness is power, position and prestige. It
is hard for our minds not to conform to this message when the Christian world tends to promote the
same value system.
There is little in our culture that causes anyone to aspire to be a servant. That is a thing of the
past. Servant-hood seems so archaic and obsolete. Sid Frank in The Presidents tells of how two of
the presidents of the United States were indentured servants as boys. The two were Millard
Fillmore and Andrew Johnson. They were under contract for 5 to 7 years, and for all practical
purposes were owned by their masters. Andrew Johnson was indentured to a tailor and he hated it
and ran away. A reward of ten dollars for his capture was advertised in the Raleigh, North
Carolina Gazette, but he was never captured. Fillmore purchased his freedom for 30 dollars after
he served a couple of years. This kind of servant hood links it with it with slavery and this is
repulsive to freedom loving Americans.
It is hard for modern American Christians to get their minds open to the mind of Christ on this
issue because it goes against the grain of our culture. The New Testament, however, is loaded
with teachings about being servants. To make matters worse the primary word for servant in the