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Summary: If you’re facing tough times today take comfort in realizing God can use you best when you are weakest.

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I walked into the Mac’s store, picked up my items and went to the counter. The clerk, male, about 18, was reading a magazine. I stood at the counter for 20 seconds or so when he finally sauntered from against the wall toward the cash register, punched on the keypad, took my cash, gave me my change and walked back to his parrot perch, almost completely without looking up! My reaction is typical to most: “What ever happened to service?”

The point of this story is to show what servant-living is not. Service is much more than an exchange of pleasantries for products purchase. So, when we explore service today, I want you to empty your mind of any images that are similar to the one I just shared. The servant attitude we will address goes well beyond these types of stories or situations.

If you’re facing tough times today take comfort in realizing God can use you best when you are weakest. St. Paul talked about a weakness in his flesh, a thorn, a problem that annoyed and caused him pain. Upon asking God to remove it God said ‘no’. The reason God said ‘no’ became plain to Paul and he tells us in the Scriptures in 2 Corinthians 12:9 why God said ‘no’: “Each time he {God} said, "My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness." So now I {Paul} am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may work through me.”

That’s service – to completely focus on a purpose and will of another that is not for my personal benefit.

Why bother with talks about service and servant-hood anyway? Jesus said in Matthew 20:26-27, “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27and whoever wants to be first must be your slave.” I suppose a person can use these as their reasons for service; they want to be great or first in line but that hardly seems terribly noble or something of which one should be proud. However, Jesus says greatness and being first starts here.

I can think of another reason to be concerned about having this attitude of heart. St. Paul gave it to us in our Bible reading earlier in Philippians 2:5, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” Should we need anything else to motivate us who say we’re in love with Jesus? Shouldn’t our desire be to imitate the one we love for the sole purpose of pleasing him?

Jesus suggests that if you learn the art of servant-hood you’ll be great in God’s Kingdom. I’m not sure it’s an offer to be top-ranking angel #1. Angel Gabriel has that seat and I don’t think God’s going to take it from him! I wonder to what extent God is telling his disciples that when we want greatness and recognition we need to walk the road of service because it gets our feet on the ground to what really matters about life and what really matters to Him. The road of service removes the vain desires for glory and greatness that would otherwise rob us of real life and yet, doing so also bestows greatness on us that was otherwise unreachable. Go figure!

If you want to be fulfilled and purposeful in a time when there’s pain and problems; when you’re tempted to run after all the wrong things and waste energy and resources trying to hold on to sand, I encourage you to pursue service and in so doing you’ll discover life and you will acquire greatness.

Whatever our assumptions you and I are called to servant-living. To refuse to listen is suicide and foolishness. There are people here who want to obey and you are wise for choosing so. Therefore God offers some insight to those who run after the real treasure called service. It starts with Christ. Is that a surprise? There’s a process to learning to being a servant.

1. Having Christ should lead to being like Christ 2:1-2

The first simple lesson we must understand is that everything we’re talking about today depends on one important premise and that is I know Jesus. Do you know Jesus? I’m not asking if you know about Jesus. Some people know Jesus about as well as they know Stephen Harper (PM of Canada), Rick Warren (Pastor and best-selling author), Sara Palin (Governor of Alaska who ran for Vice President for Republican John McCain), or Carl Zehr (Mayor of Kitchener). They may know some of their political platforms or social policies and reforms but when it comes to really knowing the individual that’s an entirely different focus.

You may know about Jesus’ claim as God’s Son. You may know about the credit Jesus is given as having died on the cross and rising again three days after and that life with God in heaven after this life is only through Jesus. You may know about His humanitarian heart and stories of His healing power. But until you say “I believe all that to be true and I accept Jesus as God’s Son and believe I can only be right with God through Jesus’ death and resurrection” you don’t know Him. You continue to know about Him. But He wants you to know Him!

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