Summary: There are vast viewpoints of ministry today. How do we view ministry through the eyes of servanthood? Study in Gospel of Mark

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A Man With a Servant’s Heart

A large group of European pastors came to one of D. L. Moody’s Northfield Bible Conferences in Massachusetts in the late 1800s. Following the European custom of the time, each guest put his shoes outside his room to be cleaned by the hall servants overnight. But of course this was America and there were no hall servants.

Walking the dormitory halls that night, Moody saw the shoes and determined not to embarrass his brothers. He mentioned the need to some ministerial students who were there, but met with only silence or pious excuses. Moody returned to the dorm, gathered up the shoes, and, alone in his room, the world’s only famous evangelist began to clean and polish the shoes. Only the unexpected arrival of a friend in the midst of the work revealed the secret.

When the foreign visitors opened their doors the next morning, their shoes were shined. They never know by whom. Moody told no one, but his friend told a few people, and during the rest of the conference, different men volunteered to shine the shoes in secret. Perhaps the episode is a vital insight into why God used D. L. Moody as He did. He was a man with a servant’s heart and that was the basis of his true greatness.

Gary Inrig, A Call to Excellence, (Victor Books, a division of SP Publ., Wheaton, Ill; 1985), p. 98

To minister: to give aid or service

Ministry: a person or thing through which something is accomplished :

from Latin minister servant;

There is a need for true ministry in the church, yet there is a vast view of what that ministry should look like.

We have books, tapes, seminars and much more to teach us how to minister to our world.

Yet, from all of my study, to have true ministry there must be a spirit of servanthood, a willingness to serve others.

How do we view ministry through the act of service?


A. As soon as Jesus left the synagogue, He went to the mother-in-law of Peter. When people found out where He was, they came to Him.

B. Jesus did not go out to look for ministry, He ministered where He was.

C. I am sure you have heard the statement, “bloom where you are planted.”

D. Does it seem easier:

• To see the need of another age group

• To see the need of the homeless and hurting somewhere else

• To see the needs of the mission field oversees

E. Jesus has us where He wants us to minister where we are planted.

F. Yet we have enough excuses why we cannot minister to the very people we are near.

• Jesus could have used the excuse “she is a woman”

• Jesus could have used the excuse “it’s the Sabbath”

• Jesus could have used the excuse “let someone who knows her”

G. We will always see someone who is better, smarter, more fruitful and we will feel like “if we were just there, or …”

H. Remember, God wants to use us right where we are.


A. Jesus set the example of prayer for ministry.

So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed. Luke 5:16

B. Some say that Jesus, being divine, did not need to pray for ministry, that is was just an example for us. I disagree.

I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me. John 5:30

• Jesus need intimacy with the Father – John 1:30, 38; 14:10; 17:11

• Jesus needed direction from the Father – John 5:19-20

• Jesus need affirmation from the Father - Matt 26; Luke 22; Mark 14:36

Jesus was asking, “If there is anyway that this can be done differently because nothing is impossible with You. But if not, YOUR WILL BE DONE!”

He needed that affirmation of the plan of salvation again from the Father.

C. Jesus show us the importance of prayer.

“The tense of the verb ‘prayed” indicates a continued action, not just a brief moment. Jesus prayer life was successful because it was planned, private, and prolonged. He got up early enough, got far enough away, and stayed long enough!” The Nelson Study Bible

D. Our ministry can only be energized by the strength of our prayer. So many times we are not ministering as we should because of the lack of prayer!

Note: Simon and his companions “searched” NKJV for Jesus.

Barklay: “they tracked him down”

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