Summary: Begin to think like a servant.
Make Me a Servant
Purpose Driven Life #33
April 24, 2004
God is looking for a few good people that He can depend on to be involved in the work of His family. He, however, is not looking like others, here on earth, might be looking. God is looking for servants.
We have been discussing our shape, and using our shape is tied to Christ’s standard of greatness.
Mk.10.43- Christ focuses on being a servant. This involves a radically different definition for leadership than the world, or churches, even, have historically. Consider again what I’ve spoken of a few times of late. When Christianity became the accepted faith of the imperial Roman Empire, the empire shaped Christendom. Theology was molded to fit the model of the empire. This began with Constantine and continued until now, although the impact of this has been lessening over the past couple of hundred years as Christendom has begun to die. There’s a painting by Giotto di Bondone of Pope Innocent III meeting with Saint Francis of Assisi. In this painting is represented the poor man of God, Francis, before the greatest ecclesiastic and political power of the day This occurred early in the 1200s. Francis appeared in a plain brown robe, standing with a small band of similarly robed men, all of them in an attitude of awe, before the great Innocent. Francis better represented the way Jesus wanted, but the way of the empire, evident in the church, and as evident in Innocent, is what prevailed. The church exercised authority much as the Empire did, and was organized much as the Empire was organized. However, this is not what Jesus taught, and not what Jesus teaches today.
Greatness is a result of the number of people we get to serve not the number of people who are serving any one of us. I’ve noticed, over the last few years, that even in our midst, some of us have begun to use the term "servant-leadership" to depict some understanding of the focus we need to have in our lives. However, it only goes partway, because that word ’leadership’ is still there. We need to go all the way and speak only of ’servant’ and ’service’. Let’s not tie the two together anymore and, thus, cloud, or muddy, the waters of understanding- of radical understanding- that Jesus calls on us to evidence.
Without question, as you understand your shape better, it will lead to areas of service that are best fitted to you and where you really are effective. This will be your area of primary service. But, do not allow yourself to think that this is where service must stop, or that these are the only areas for service. Beyond those, service has to do with whatever needs doing, and this does not depend on your shape, but simply on your being Christ-minded. Over the years, I’ve had great difficulty when I’ve seen ministers who wouldn’t ’stoop’ to moving chairs or tables, or sweeping floors, and the like; to me, these activities have always been inherent in understanding servanthood. Oh, it’s nice to think that some tasks are ’beneath’ us, or that we’re ’too busy’ to do the mundane, but the servant has no ’mundane’ or ’beneath’, as Jesus exemplified.
Today, I’d like to outline several keys to a servant’s heart- to having it and exhibiting one. You and I are to be servants- this is how we’re judged as great. Jesus sets the standard and we must not permit anyone to take away this matter of Jesus’ teaching and truth.
1. As a servant, be available to serve. What needs to be done? Then do it.
2 Ti.2.4- as you’re going along in life, sometimes something gets in the way- it can be a phone call, or an opportunity to do something for someone. Get used to looking at these as ’divine interruptions’. God is involved in your life and He wants you to get used to putting others’ needs in the proper place. Serving is rarely convenient and it’s not always glorious, but it needs to be done. In our western world, and church, we’ve become very used to thinking like the empire- to thinking in terms of ourselves and justifying working incessantly, to being sure that we’re not late because of serving someone else, and the like. Make yourself available.
We have some needs right now. We need more adults to become screened so we can have 2 adults sitting in each Children’s Ministry class. In addition, we need a teacher for the little children (Montreal). Is no one available? Is there anyone who will make himself or herself available to serve in this way? Let us not just think of our own needs, but let’s think of putting ourselves into active serving. Maybe you’ve never done anything like this- we can train you and will support and back you up. It’s not for everyone, but it might be for you. Listen to the voice in your heart on this.