Are You Becoming a Servant, Like the Lord?

Encouragement for Your Heart and Mind from Pastor David Staff

Someone has rightly said, “The true measure of a man’s greatness is not how many servants he has, but how many people he serves.”  Think of the Lord Jesus through that lens.  He has many servants, to be sure, but the greater scope of his unique greatness is the countless many whom he has served and continues to serve.

Greatness, he repeatedly taught his disciples, is being a servant.


In our gathered worship this summer, we’ve considered Mark’s portrait of the Savior’s earthly life and discipleship.  As God’s great yet remarkably humble servant, he called his disciples to become like him.

Here are the key lessons found in Mark he offered to reshape their lives:
  1. The good news about this Lord Jesus – our empowered yet tested Savior – is that he arrived to be God’s servant.  He would give up his life as a ransom for many. (Mark 1)
  2. His call to his first disciples was that in their following, they would become fishers of men. (Mark 1)
  3. Serving meant fishing for people with Jesus in specific life-giving, life-reclaiming ways.        Lost people need – through Jesus’ disciples – clear truth and rescuing mercy. (Mark 1-3)
  4. Servants learn to trust courageously – even in the most difficult circumstances -- the control of the Master. (Mark 4-5)
  5. Servants learn from Jesus to persevere in serving with compassion, dependence, and His (supernatural) supply. (Mark 6)
  6. Servants are marked by self-denial in order to serve (giving up our agenda, willing to place
       oneself last). (Mark 8,9,10)


Reading Mark’s gospel, one realizes that Jesus’ original disciples seemed at times to be quite hard-of-hearing.  What kept them from learning well from Jesus’ example, and hearing well Jesus’ teaching, was a preoccupation with personal status and position.  A chronic argument kept surfacing among the 12 – “Which of us is the greatest?”  In 3 successive chapters, this bubbled up in their interactions.

My sense is that it is even harder to watch and listen to our Savior’s example today.  In our information-driven, recognition-craving world, so many are caught up in wanting to be in the spotlight.  Their self-image and self-worth rises or falls with the matter of “who is noticing me?” and “who thinks that I am something?”

Jesus’ example and exhortation remained compelling.  The way down is the way up.  Serve others.  Serve the least.  Pray and fish for their hearts to someday belong to Christ.  Trust your Lord’s control in your life, not your own ability to manage the surrounding favorable or unfavorable circumstances.

This weekend, we will also see (once again) how critical faith and prayer are to the fruitfulness of a servant of Jesus.  Before Sunday, take a moment to read and reflect on Mark 9.  As you do, perk up your ears and listen.  See you soon!
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