Monday, June 9, 2014

Inconvenient Service

Christ's perspective on serving may be a little different than what we would care to admit.  We often serve when it is convenient for us and when we can reap some benefit.  It usually has to fit our own schedule to even be considered.  However, Jesus Christ epitomized what it meant to to be a servant by surrendering His privileges to take upon Himself the form of a servant to the point of punishment on the cross.  He demonstrated the depth of His love by washing His disciples' feet as an example of true greatness.  He encouraged His followers with these words, "But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all.  For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Mark 10: 43-45).  True servants, according to Scripture, have others in mind before their own comfort.  Ouch!!!  In fact, the words servant and slave are used interchangeably in conveying the idea of the humility tied to service.

I write today's blog with a somewhat heavy heart.  It was not long ago that I had conversations with an individual who was very concerned about the authority they ought to have in a position compared to how they could be more effective in their serving.  In the Sermon on the Mount, the heart attitude was key to the act of service and how we relate to others (Mt. 5).  Too often (along with Christ's disciples) we can forget why we are called to serve and how we are to serve.  It is not to exercise authority, to be recognized, to be praised, or fill a void in our own lives.  Too often, because our own motives and desires get in the way we can become obstacles to service ever happening.  Believers can even sow seeds of discord in order to get their way when it comes to service.  I suppose it could be viewed as, "service on my terms only and if it makes sense to me".   However, Christ's idea was that His followers understand that Kingdom living  places others first in our thoughts and actions.   A good litmus test to test our hearts when it comes to service is can we serve if we are never acknowledged or if things don't go our way.  The disciples lost sight of the love and unity amongst themselves that should have existed while doing Christ's work.  Christ demonstrated through His own example that His kind of service forgets about what is due us as a result of our service.

It is through the lens of Christ's sacrifice on the cross that we can understand where we belong when ministering to others.  His sacrifice helps us to understand that everything begins with a selfless heart attitude for the sake of the advancement of His greater work.  John said it well in John 3:30, "He must increase but I must decrease."

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