Summary: In Christ, as opposed to the world, the servant is greatest of all. Yet in most churches, it is the least of all gifts utilized.

  Study Tools
  Study Tools


Scripture Base:

Matthew 20:26-28; 22:39b; john 15: 12-13; Philippians 2: 1-11

The Point:

In Christ, as opposed to the world, the servant is greatest of all.

Stuff You’ll Need:

TV and VCR, the movie Sister Act (Touchstone Pictures), nails, tape


Before the session, write the Commitment Cores questions on a chalkboard or a sheet of newsprint.


Have students pair up using the colored dots. They will remain paired up throughout the whole lesson.


In our world, to most people, what makes someone truly great?

Who is the greatest person now living (aside from Jesus)?

Have pairs discuss these questions for three minutes.

When time is up, have students share some of their responses.

What makes someone great to God?

Have pairs discuss this for about two minutes.

Jesus called the disciples together and said, “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave-just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:26-28).

Jesus said this, so it’s true, but it’s so difficult to see how being a servant will lead to greatness of any kind, isn’t it?

In our world being proud, loud, ambitious, goal-driven, self-made, self-centered, highly motivated, powerful, and wealthy are the ways to greatness.

Good news-God knows all about this struggle and will help us meet the challenge. Let’s look at servanthood today and what it takes to be a servant from the heart.

The Message

Key Point # I: The servant’s heart

Let’s take a little quiz to see how we rank as servants.

Servant ’Tude?

After hearing each of the following statements, either extend a hand, which means, “That’s me!” or fold your arms across your chest, which means, “Nope! That’s not me!”

Others compliment me on my servant attitudes or actions.

I use my gifts and skills to serve my church.

I use my gifts and skills to serve my family.

Other people feel they can count on me when they need help.

I make it a habit to help those in distress.

When I see needy people or the homeless, it gets to me.

The needs of others are at least as important as my own.

I sometimes feel sad and ask, "God, why do you allow people to suffer?"

Others compliment me on my sensitivity and love.

I typically help people, even when it costs me time, cancels my plans, risks embarrassment, costs money, or even when their appearance repulses me.

Friends say I am someone they can talk to about anything and that I’m always there when they need me.

Have students turn to a partner and discuss the following questions. After a minute or two, have volunteers share their responses.

What did this test tell you about yourself?

How will you respond to what you learned?

Read Philippians 2: 1-2

In this passage God shows us two ways to live the life of the servant, as opposed to living a selfish life. First, we must consider others better than ourselves (verse 3). Second, we must look not only to our own interests but also to the interests of others (verse 4). We must stay alert to the needs of others and how to meet their needs.

Seeing Christ in the Poorest of the Poor

Check out this cool story of a journalist’s encounter with Mother Teresa, which completely revolutionized his perspective on service and charity:

She told a story of how one of the sisters had spent an entire day bathing the wounds of a dying beggar who was brought to them from the streets of Calcutta.

Mother Teresa’s voice dropped to a whisper as she told the hushed auditorium that, in reality, the nun had been bathing the wounds of Jesus.

She insisted that Christ tests the love of his followers by hiding in grotesque disguises to see if we can still see him.

A few nights later...a drunk accosted me. He was dirty and ragged and smelled bad.

’Did the bus leave yet?’ he asked ...

’You’ve missed it,’ I told him. Then I thought about Mother Teresa... ’C’mon, I’ll drive you,’ I said, hoping that he wouldn’t throw up in the car.

He looked surprised, delighted and a little stunned .. .’Say,’ he said, ’you must know me.’ "


The heart of the servant recognizes that when we serve and love others, we serve and love Christ.

There are as many ministries and ways to serve as there are stars in the sky.

There are nursing homes to visit, children who need sidewalk Sunday schools in their neighborhoods, elderly people who have homes in need of yard care, Sunday school classes that need to be taught, AIDS babies who need to be held and cuddled, camps that need to be run for special needs children, and so much more.

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