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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. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 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.” – MARK 10:42-45
Even the disciples struggled with the concept of serving. In Mark 10, James and John had come to Jesus asking to be sat at place of honor when Jesus came to his position of glory. During that time, the culture was all about being the upper class and being served by others. Obviously, we know that the religious leaders of that day did everything they could to be seen as deserving respect and honor. Speaking about the teachers of the law and the Pharisees, Jesus said “Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others.” (Matthew 23:5-7) Then Jesus spoke of the Gentile rulers of that day in Mark 10 above. Both the Jews and the Gentiles had a similar culture of status.
Jesus came to turn that world upside down. He modeled what we now call “Servant Leadership”. It is about the leader being in that position to serve and do what is best for those “under” him. It’s about making them the object of his work, and not his own self-gain. This includes serving everyone around us, and not just those we technically lead.
You can see in our culture today that we are still about status and honoring certain people while overlooking others. Look at how we treat famous actors, singers, or professional athletes compared to a homeless person or just about anyone we deem cannot do anything for us. You also see in our world today people who are easily offended. I believe people are actually looking for a way to get offended. Why is that? Because they are being taught to demand respect, and if everyone doesn’t go out of their way to give them that respect they think they deserve, they get offended. Being offended is actually a choice that we make, and not something put upon us by others. Was Jesus ever offended? I believe being offended is the opposite of being a servant, as it means we feel someone didn’t treat us with the amount of respect and honor we believe we deserve. Something to think about.
Being offended is the opposite of being a servant.
I love Philippians chapter 2. Here are verses 3-8:
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!”
Verse 3 says “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.” If you don’t remember anything else from this blog, remember this verse. It reminds us of the once very popular adage, “What Would Jesus Do”, which was put on bracelets and other clothing as “WWJD”. It seems we all kinda got tired of that after a while, but what better motto is there to live by?
So how do we put this into practice? Here are some thoughts that come to mind.
When we look at the life of Jesus, He was always serving others. He didn’t just go out and preach, He loved and healed people, both physically and spiritually. He was always on mission.
I realized a few years ago that I was working really hard to build my kingdom, and began to realize that my kingdom is a temporary kingdom and will be gone someday. His Kingdom is an eternal Kingdom that changes people’s lives. Let’s spend more time building that kingdom.
Think and pray
The joy that comes from serving God and serving people will surpass anything this world can offer. Go out there and continue Jesus’ mission and let’s turn this world upside down by serving others!
Father, give me eyes to see the true needs of those around me today. I resolve to serve them just as You did, humbling myself and seeking their highest good. Empower me to do this such that You get all the glory! Amen.
Sam Pappas serves as a Managing Partner of MacArthur Associated Consultants. He has been in engineering for 37 years and has been in company leadership for 22 years. He enjoys family time, fishing, golfing, serving with the worship team at his church, and mentoring and discipling men. He strives to make glorifying God a key point of his life and of the business. He also co-leads a CBMC Connect3 group at his office in Edmond/Oklahoma City.