Pleasing God, Making Disciples of Jesus Christ

The Servant Life

MARK 9:33-35 – And they came to Capernaum. And when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you discussing on the way?” But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.”


THEME OF THE DAY:  THE SERVANT LIFE.  The underlying principle guiding the life of a Christian is summarized in one word – servant. When Christ calls a person to Himself, He begins the transformation of “killing” the individual from living for self to living for others.  What challenges us about this truth is we know it, but we don’t always live it.  That is the conflict raging within us between our remaining sinful flesh and God’s Spirit. The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Galatians defines it – But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do (Galatians 5:16-17).  And the conflict is also illustrated in today’s scripture.  The disciples are jockeying for position among themselves. However, it is not a position as to who would serve the most but who would be most served.


Returning to the Galatian letter, two truths around the issue of the servant life are identified.


First, the ability to be a God honoring servant must be given and that happens through the Gospel.  If we are to serve others properly and spiritually, God must release us from the bondage of what prevents proper servanthood – sin and ourselves. He does so through the Gospel – For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery (Galatians 5:1).


Once this work of “servant-making” occurs, then the second truth of the servant life emerges from Paul  – 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 (Galatians 5:13). Now, we don’t just go into “auto serve” mode.  There is no “cruise control” service. We obey God’s commands on purpose.  We serve others on purpose, but it begins with “killing” what prevents service – the flesh.


As this death to self occurs, the life of purposeful servanthood as commanded by Jesus, and modeled by Him follows, leading to a life of joy in the Lord and influence for the Lord – When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them (John 13:12-17).


PRAYER: “Father, help me to understand my life is not my own but lived for You and others.”


QUOTE: “Our joy in the Lord is directly related to our service to the Lord and others.”


Because of Him,


Pastor Jim