Down Is the New Up

“You know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.  But it shall not be so among you: but whoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; and whoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: even as the Son of man came not to be ministered to, but to minister; and to give his life a ransom for many.”
Matthew 20:25-28

Jesus had just observed the contention between His disciples over who would be greatest.  Misbehavior can provide the best teaching opportunities and He immediately seized the moment.  In a day when power and position is idolized His instruction is as pertinent to us as it was his followers.

1.  We should aspire to service with the same level of ambition with which the world desires power.

The desire to “boss” is nothing new.  It was true among the Gentile rulers, the twelve disciples, our society, and us.  The Holy Spirit can change this natural preference to be served into an obedient spirit of service.  Do I strive to serve with the same drive that a businessman seeks to climb the corporate ladder?  Do I pray for opportunities to serve as fervently as I pray for blessings?  Jesus encourages us to seek to be a servant and a slave.  That should be my greatest desire.

2.  We never look more like Jesus than when we are joyfully, willingly, and sacrificially serving others.

The pattern and reason for our service is that Jesus did not come to be served or honored though He of all people deserved to be served and honored. He came to serve and to give His life a ransom for others.

Grace is not natural.  The world around us has no frame of reference for it.  It is a foreign concept that they have not experienced.  Nobody gives expecting nothing in return.  No one serves out of pure grace.  When we tell them of God’s grace they interpret it from their experiences and impose on it a definition that is less than what God’s grace is.

Our joyful, willing, sacrificial, gracious service provides them a visual point of reference for the word of Grace that we are sharing.  Service is more than merely “winning a hearing” for the Gospel, it is the accompanying, supplementary demonstration to the message we proclaim.  This reflects glory to the source of our heart of service – God.

Be assured.  You and I are serving someone.  Either we are serving ourselves (in which case neither Christ nor others are being served), or we are serving Christ (in which case we are serving Him AND others).  The question we face daily is not, “Will I serve?” but “Who will I serve?” and “How will I serve them?”

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