And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. 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.”
Who does a church exist for or what should we expect as a result of following God? If we are truly honest with ourselves the answer is that we get something from it. We feel like we got the short end of the stick if we feel like we put in more than we get back either at church or in our personal faith. It sounds awful to write and read those words, but if we are honest this is our human nature. Or worse yet, we may be taught to think this way about church and our faith, that we deserve something in return for all that we invest of our time, money, and effort in those two arenas.
Jesus has something to say about our relationship to faith and the church in the gospels. He says that we need to be servants. The word servant comes from the Greek word diakonos, and is meant to refer to a slave. Jesus is talking about a person who would be your butler, your housekeeper, the hired help around your house who do their work for little or no money in that day. When Jesus is trying to best describe what it looks like to be great in His kingdom he calls us to be servants.
A servant only does what they are told, not what they want.
A servant makes the will and satisfaction of their master priority #1.
A servant thinks about someone else before ME.
Perhaps this is why Jesus says in Matthew 7:13-14 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” Being a servant is not easy, it’s the opposite of what comes naturally, and it’s exactly what Jesus calls of his people. Jesus before me, His will before mine, even when it hurts, even when it’s hard.
- Where is one place at church where you might need to say God before me?
- What is one way that you can serve others in your life?