"Being A Servant"
Willing To Be A Servant (1)
"Practice the servant life." Matthew 5:41 TM
Service begins in your mind! Listen: "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus who...made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant" (Php 2:5-7 NKJV). Are you into reputation building, or serving others? You can't do both. God is always more interested in your attitude than your achievements. King Amaziah lost God's favour because: "He did what was right in the sight of the Lord, yet not with a true heart" (2Ch 25:2 NRSV). True servants have certain attitudes. For the next few days we'll examine some of them.
True servants focus on others, not themselves! Real humility is not thinking less of yourself - but thinking of yourself less. A lot of what we do is just self-serving. We serve to be admired or to achieve our own goals. Some of what we do is manipulation, not ministry; we're really thinking about ourselves and how noble and wonderful we are. We even use serving as a bargaining tool: "God, I'll do this for You, if You'll do that for me." True servants don't use God for their purposes, they let God use them for His.
Self-forgetfulness is a daily struggle, a lesson we must relearn over and over again. You can measure your servant's heart, by how you respond when others treat you like a servant! How do you react when you feel taken for granted, bossed around or treated as an inferior? Jesus said: "If someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life" (Mt 5:41 TM).
Willing To Be A Servant (2)
"Those who have been given a trust must prove faithful." 1 Corinthians 4:2 NIV
When you stand before the judgment seat of Christ, God won't only focus on spiritual and moral issues, He'll also deal with you about your money. Listen: "He called 10 of his servants and gave them 10 minas. ?Put this money to work,' he said, ?until I come back'" (Lk 19:13 NIV). Then we read: "He sent for the servants to whom he had given the money...to find out what they had gained with it" (Lk 19:15 NIV).
It's wise to have financial goals for your life, but God's greatest goal for mankind is: "This Gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world...then the end will come" (Mt 24:14 NIV). "How will we do that?" you ask. Through the printed page, Christian broadcasting, local churches, prison ministry, youth ministry, humanitarian relief, and sending out missionaries. Have you checked the price of a round-trip airfare to Asia or Africa lately?
Your prayer: "Lord, meet all my needs," won't get the job done! Somebody's going to have to believe God for more than just their own needs, step out in faith, succeed and say: "Lord, Your kingdom is my first concern. I'll sign the check, You fill in the amount. One day I want to be able to see You face to face and declare, I've invested every ounce of energy, every talent, every penny You entrusted to me to fulfill Your purposes on earth'." If you can't pray that prayer today, hit your knees, repent, and start changing your priorities.
Willing To Be A Servant (3)
"We will not compare ourselves with each other." Galatians 5:26 TM
True servants concentrate on their God-given assignment - not what somebody else is doing! Competition between God's servants is illogical: we're all on the same team. Our goal is to make God look good, not ourselves. Listen: "We will not compare ourselves...as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do...Each of us is an original" (Gal 5:26 TM).
Grow up! Get over your petty jealousy! When you're busy serving you don't have time to be critical. When Martha criticized Mary, she lost her servant's heart. True servants don't complain of unfairness, don't have pity-parties and don't resent those not serving in the same way. They just trust God and keep serving. It's not your job to evaluate others. Listen: "Who are you to criticize...The Lord will determine whether his servant has been successful" (Ro 14:4 GWT). God determines who's successful, not you!
Nor is it your job to defend yourself against criticism. Let God handle it! Nehemiah's response to his critics is a classic: "My work is too important to stop now and...visit with you" (Neh 6:3 CEV).
One of the most beautiful acts of love shown to Jesus was criticized by His own disciples. When Mary took the most valuable thing she owned, expensive perfume, and poured it over Jesus, they called it ?a waste'. But Jesus called it, "significant" (Mt 26:10 TM). There's only one opinion that matters - His! Your service for Christ is never wasted, regardless of what others say.
Willing To Be A Servant (4)
"The only approval that counts is the lord's." 2 Corinthians 10:18 CEV
If your sense of self worth is based on anything other than God's approval, you won't serve with the right motives. True servants accept jobs that insecure people consider beneath them. Remember Jesus washing the feet of His disciples? Could you do that?
Insecure people always worry about how they appear. They hide their weaknesses beneath layers of protective pride. The more insecure you are the more you need people to serve you, and the more you work for their acceptance. Henri Nouwen says: "In order to be of service to others we have to die to them; that is, we have to give up measuring our meaning and value by the yardstick of others...thus we become free to be compassionate." Your service should not be based on the response of those you're serving, but on obedience to God alone.
True servants don't need to cover their walls with plaques or to insist on lofty titles. Paul writes: "You may brag about yourself, but the only approval that counts is the Lord's approval."
If anybody had a chance to name-drop it was James, the half-brother of Jesus. What credentials; growing up with Jesus as your brother! Yet he simply referred to himself as "a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ" (Jas 1:1). Your service to Christ shouldn't be an obligation or a job, it should be a joy. Listen: "Serve the Lord with gladness" (Ps 100:2). Can you imagine what would happen if even 10 percent of us got serious about our role as true servants?
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