The Power of Serving

The Power of Serving

In the rabbinical period of Israel the teachers would take on students or disciples to learn the law and the writings of the prophets. As the students learned and accumulated knowledge – they also began to take on the characteristics and even personality of their teacher and mentor. As a practical matter, the teacher was actually replicating himself. Jesus followed this pattern as He called His original disciples to follow Him. Our Lord repeats it again when He calls us today to follow Him. One important aspect of the nature of Jesus that is often overlooked but is essential for us to be like Christ is that He came to serve mankind.

Matthew 20:25-28 (New International Version, ©2010)

25 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 26 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Are we taking on the characteristics of Jesus Christ? Does the church today and its individual parts display the basic servant nature of Jesus Christ?

Wilbur Rees writes the following in his book “When I Relax I Feel Guilty” and while his comments are steeped in sarcasm – they do reflect somewhat the attitude of much of American Christianity. We want some of God – but not enough to make us radically changed and transformed into the image of Christ. Note what Rees says:

I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please, not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep, but just enough to equal a cup of warm milk or a snooze in the sunshine. I don’t want enough of Him to make me love a black man or pick beets with a migrant worker, I want ecstasy, not transformation; I want the warmth of the womb, not a new birth. I want a pound of the eternal in a paper sack. I would like to buy $3 of God, please. [1]

How much of God do we want? Just enough to still be comfortable? Or, enough that we aspire to be like Him. Embracing the concept of servant hood is key for us as believers and followers of Jesus Christ. Serving takes the emphasis off of me, myself, and I – and puts it on the purpose that God has for our life. John Wesley has said that there is no holiness apart from social holiness, or, stated another way, that we serve God by serving others.

There is great power in serving – it demonstrates and models the love of God through Jesus Christ.

[1]Swindoll, Charles. “Improving Your Serve.” Pg 29. (Used with permission from Wilbur Rees, “When I Relax I Feel Guilty”)

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