Summary: A brief message on servanthood.
The Heart of a Servant
Thursday, March 25, 2004
Aberdeen Christian High School Servant Auction
This is great timing for this message, because here at Aberdeen Wesleyan, we are in the midst of our 40 Days of Purpose Campaign, and this Sunday we talked about how God has shaped us to serve.
In the Bible, the words “minister” and “serve” are the same Greek word. And so when we think of ministry, we need to think in terms of service, because God had this in mind from the beginning.
In discussing the heart of a servant, I want us to look at three principles of Scripture, and try to glean three lessons we can learn from them.
And because I promised Mrs. Hughes that I wouldn’t preach more than an hour, we’ll just dive right in, okay? Here we go. The first principle is this:
1. God created us to serve.
Ephesians 2:10 says this:
For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Two things very quickly:
First, those of us in the evangelical community are quick to point out that no one can earn their salvation – that no one can do enough good works to merit the favor of God to go to heaven.
But often we forget that while works don’t get us into heaven, God still expects us to do good works as an outpouring of our faith in Him.
The book of James goes into this quite a bit by saying that our works are a testimony of our faith in Christ.
Second, and more to the point I want to make tonight, is this: God created us to do the works that need to be done.
Not just “ministry” work like pastoring and such, but stuff we see all around us.
Good works include things like making sure the streets are in good repair, taking care of the landfill and water supplies so we can avoid disease, delivering the mail, and all sorts of stuff.
These things are all good, and they all need to be done. And doing these helps us fulfill one of God’s purposes for our lives. He created us to serve.
2. Serving is Christlike.
We are probably all familiar with the story in Mark 10 about how James and John approached Jesus with their mother, and asked Him to give them some special seats in heaven.
The other guys got a bit upset about this, but Jesus, taking another opportunity to use human foibles to advance His cause, used it as a lesson on servanthood. Let’s pick it up in verse 42.
42 Jesus called them together and said, "You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 43 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."
You really want to show people what Jesus was like? Serve. Serve all the time, everywhere.
This reflects the love and character of Jesus louder than just about anything we can do.
One summer, I was participating in a summer training camp for a Christian organization.
I was a team leader, and thought I was pretty hot stuff.
At each meal, there were two very important spots at each table: the head, and the person to the left of the head. The head of the table dictated the conversation, controlled the flow of food, and all that kinda stuff.
The person on the left of that person was the one who would make sure there was enough food, would get refills for the food and drinks, and all that kinda stuff. It was the servant’s place.
Based on what I’ve told you so far, guess which spot I went to first. That’s right – the head.
I avoided that servant spot like the plague. But hey, I was cool about it. I wouldn’t just go to that head spot right away. I’d hang back, pretending to be busy, so it was often the last place left at the table, because no one wanted to be seen as a glory hound.
So when I came up to the table, it would seem as though I had to take it, and that I was not actually seeking that spot.
Look – when you’re a little guy like me you take every opportunity you can get to look big.
But you know, I wonder just how successful I was at pretending. My guess is that people saw through my show pretty easily.