Who are we? Servants: servants of God, and servants of others. It’s important that we remember that, because we easily forget.
We’re Servants of God
Jesus told us a story that helps us understand our positions (Luke 17:7-10). We owe God everything. He owes us nothing. We’re his servants. Even when we give him everything, we only give him his due.
One of the keys to the Christian life is remembering who God is and who we are. We’re not peers. We don’t have an equal relationship. We don’t have the right to object to his decisions or protest his will. Our job is to submit to him. Whatever he asks is right. We can never give God too much because he owns everything. No matter how much we give to him, we’re simply giving him what we owe him anyway.
But that’s not all.
We’re Servants of Others.
Jesus modeled this with his own life (John 13:14-15) and called us to follow his example. When writing to a group of people who are concerned with their rights. Paul wrote, “For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them” (1 Corinthians 9:19). Phil Ryken comments, “The truest freedom comes when we become a servant of others.”
We see this theme throughout Scripture. “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,” Paul writes, before describing Jesus’ life of humility and self-sacrifice (Philippians 2:5). In Galatians 5:13, Paul writes, “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”
Serving others is a regular part of the Christian life. The best life is not a life of being served. The best life is one of giving away our lives to serve God and others.
Servanthood in Practice
What does this mean? Being servants has so many implications. Here are just a three:
- Submit to God. He calls the shots, not us. This changes how we approach our entire lives. We’re not in charge; God is.
- Love others. Look for opportunities to serve. Pray for them. God usually answers when we ask him to allow us to serve others. In every relationship, we have the opportunity to put others ahead of ourselves.
- The real change must take place at the level of our attitudes. Pray that he gives us the mindset of servants, the mindset of Jesus himself (Philippians 2:5).
- Don’t be surprised when this leads to you finding greater joy and life than when you lived for yourself (Matthew 16:25). Surprisingly, the pathway to joy is to stop looking for joy and to start looking to serve God and love others.
I’m trying to overcome my addiction to be served. I want to live the way that Jesus describes: giving and serving others with abandon, trusting that this is the wisest and best way to live. When we live this way, after all, we’re reflecting the nature of God who has given so much so extravagantly to us.