Servanthood - A Few Principles of True Servanthood

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Here are some notes on a subject that must be foundational in ministry. Today we use "servant" in place of the Biblical word "slave" because we are afraid to offend.

Philippians 2:1-8

1 If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,
2 Fulfill ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
5 -- Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

John 13:12-17
So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you?
13 Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.
14 If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.
15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.
16 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.
17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.

Matthew 20:26-28
But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;
27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:
28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

John 12:25-26
He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.
26 If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honor.

1. A Servant is a disciple and his life is not his own.
To be a disciple means we follow in His footsteps - we lose out lives.
He is the ultimate example in servant hood
It is much more exciting to forsake family, houses, lands, and possessions for the Gospel's sake even to martyrdom - than to die the many little deaths that we must die daily of going to the cross and being sentenced to the servant hood in the ordinary, regular, and trivial.
The flesh desires the glorious mission of being noticed but it cringes at the hidden service where there are no accolades or sounds of applause.
Having the discipline of serving and no choosing our service but letting God chose our service is very freeing from the world's ambitious program of recognition and accomplishment.
Oswald Chambers: "It is one thing to go on the lonely way with dignified heroism, but quite another thing if the line mapped out for you by God means being a door-mat under other people's feet."


2. A servant is not in control. 1 Cor 6.19-20
A servant relinquishes control because he is bought with a price.
A bond-slave that has presented himself a living sacrifice doesn't see himself with the same rights as other people do. Paul a voluntary bond-slave Phil 2.17 counted it a joy to serve the Philippian church
A servant's joy is not based on his control of the grounds of service or the results of the service. He rejoices in the privilege to serve.
The flesh wants to be in control, to determine what it does and doesn't do.
The servant has not chosen to serve (that is being in control) but has chosen to be a servant (his nature)
Mother Teresa: "I belong to Jesus. He must have the right to use me without consulting me."


3. A Servant doesn't get hurt or offended. He serves out of love. Acts 20:24 ...I consider my life worth nothing to me...
How can a servant get hurt when he has chosen to be a door-mat?
Jesus endured the contradiction of sinners for the joy set before him. Kempis instructed his students "to be so subject that all men may go over thee and tread upon thee as upon mire of the street."
A servant doesn't get hurt by people's response as he does it unto the Lord who has called him. Therefore his service in ministry is independent of response and criticism. He is the Lord's freeman - free to serve all in bondage to none.
The greatest enemy to servant-hood is self love. When we complain how hard it is to serve we are already a casualty in service.

4. Where the rubber meets the road: the flesh: If we allow a daily leading into the mundane to serve secretly unnoticed, uncrucified flesh will be severely challenged:
The flesh complains or murmurs
Secretly manipulates for attention
Hesitates in the call to service
Gets hurt and sulks
Doesn't see the benefit of serving
Always asks "what's in it for me" or "when is it my turn"
Availability is our only acceptable act in servanthood. We present ourselves a living sacrifice.

5. Servanthood is the way to true satisfaction
He is blessed by allowing the Master to be the greatest - John 13:12-13
Is an example - John 13:14-17
Is great - Mat 20:27-28
Is always there where Christ is - John 12:25-26
Is always content and not in competition - Phil 2:3-4

Practical Application:
How faithful are we to the service the Lord has mapped out for us - do we need thanks or recognition or do we get angry and withdraw
How content are we in ministry when God chooses for us?
How often do we get offended when people take advantage of us and our service. Do I require soulish payment for my service?