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Summary: This is a Biblically-based exploration of the truest desire of the regenerated spirit: servanthood.

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Desiring Servanthood

Servanthood Series Part I: Countryside Christian Center Single Adult Bible Studies

Introduction: In Genesis 3, a story is told about the first man and woman Falling from a position of total security in God and absolute significance. Their significance (importance) was absolute in the sense that God placed them in a position of authority over all creatures, and they enjoyed a daily “hand-in-hand” relationship with the creator. Since that was lost, humans have been trying to regain that sense of significance through pride, selfishness, ambition, self-love, and control over others. But Jesus’ solution to the problem of lost significance is completely different than what we would expect!

I. Biblical Foundation:

Mat 20:20 Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Him with her sons, kneeling down and asking something from Him.

Mat 20:21 And He said to her, "What do you wish?" She said to Him, "Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom."

Mat 20:22 But Jesus answered and said, "You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?"* They said to Him, "We are able."

Mat 20:23 So He said to them, "You will indeed drink My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with;* but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared by My Father."

Mat 20:24 And when the ten heard it, they were greatly displeased with the two brothers.

Mat 20:25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them.

Mat 20:26 "Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant.

Mat 20:27 "And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave--

Mat 20:28 "just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."

A. The problem: The universal human need for “significance”. We want to be important. James and John, Disciples of Jesus, desired importance so much that they may have asked their mom to obtain it for them (v20). (Interesting paradox: the sin of Pride almost always leads to a loss of dignity). James and John’s mother’s solution to the problem of lost significance was a position of power for her sons (v21)

B. Jesus’ interpretation of the mother’s request was that she wanted James and John to “lord it over” others, just like the heathen (v25)

C. Jesus’ correct solution to the problem of lost significance:

1. Redirect ambition by serving others (v26)

2. Eliminate prideful desires to “be first” by becoming a “slave” (becoming last)

3. Imitate the One True Leader, the most “significant” being in the universe (Jesus), who did more to serve others than anyone.

D. Jesus is teaching God’s answer to the human desire for significance. The answer is not found in accomplishment or ambition or pride (which led to the loss of significance in the first place) but in God’s approval. A servant seeks only the approval of the Master, and this is why the way to satisfy the human need for significance is not in “greatness” but in servanthood.

E. The sins of pride, ambition, and self-absorption are perversions of the real desire: approval from God. So, in desiring to be a servant we are not so much learning something new as we are discovering who we really are. We will find no significance apart from servanthood.

II. Illustration

A. Servanthood is an “acquired” taste for many. How many of you enjoy coffee? Of those that do, how many of you enjoyed coffee as a small child? The taste for coffee came with a maturing of your palate. For many Christians, a heart of servanthood towards others does not come naturally, but with a “maturing” of Christian character.

B. In May of 1846 an evangelist, now mostly forgotten, named “James Caughey” (pronounced “coffee”) visited a chapel in Nottingham England and preached a sermon on the words recorded in St. Mark, “Therefore I say unto you, what things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” Caughey preached that the key to this verse was to learn to desire God’s desires, and that God’s foremost desire was that we develop the character of a servant, to help the poor, and to spread the gospel that souls might be saved. A gangly young man was present at this service. He’d been saved for two years but had been drifting. But that day in May, God spoke to this gangly young man through evangelist James Caughey. The Holy Spirit gave the young man a passion for desiring servanthood. The young man acted on God’s direction, and he devoted himself to starting an organization committed to the salvation of souls and service to the needy. A sermon on “desiring servanthood” inspired the young, gangly William Booth to fulfill his destiny and found the Salvation Army.

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