Three truths about being a Servant
This week I have been reading in 2 Peter and I have spent several days meditating in the first chapter and especially on the first four words: “Simon Peter, a servant.” Interesting statement huh? He mentions this before stating his apostleship! That is interesting. Furthermore, this is Simon Peter saying this! Based on what I know about him, that is a big statement for him to make. After all, he is known for his leadership style that at times could be brash and even a bit abrasive. These four words, “Simon Peter, a servant,” have me meditating on this matter of servanthood. So far, I have thought through a number of truths about servanthood. Let me share three of them here.
- It is servanthood that separates pride from humility.
Remember Paul’s statements about Jesus? He “took upon [himself] the form of a servant . . . and . . . humbled himself.” Peter teaches that “God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.” When I am full of pride, I am full of myself. I am easily bothered, often “on edge,” and tend to be sharp and impatient with people. When I humble myself and serve others I become more like Jesus. I am a blessing to people. I am able to carry their burdens and love them. They are able to see Jesus in my life! I fall way short in this area. Are you that way?
2. It is servanthood that is the key to great leadership.
Jesus, only a few hours prior to accomplishing the single greatest act that has ever been committed, served his disciples by kneeling and washing their feet. He was literally hours from hanging on a cross and bearing the sins, the shame, the guilt, and the pain of the entire world. And he washed their feet! He told them that as he had done to them, they should do to others. How often do you and I find ourselves impressed with high-powered executives who push their way to the top and who lead with incredible intensity and power while forgetting that great leadership is based more on daily practice than on high-powered performance. A man may be worth millions and be a lousy leader! On the other hand, a man may be worth little and be a great leader. It all depends on who is “washing feet.”
3. Servanthood relinquishes my rights to my time and my needs.
As I read through Mark’s gospel recently, two stories especially caught my attention. The first is in Mark 3. Verse 20 makes a summary statement: Jesus was so busy serving that he couldn’t so much as eat bread! As our Savior reached out to others and ministered to their needs, he had to be willing to give up his own rights. Serving others is demanding! A few chapters later, in Mark 6, the story is told of Jesus leading His disciples away for a time of rest. Their rest and leisure is never recorded. The crowds followed Jesus, and when he saw them, he “had compassion” on them. Instead of meeting his own needs, He ministered to theirs. I write it again: serving others is demanding. It takes time. It takes compassion. It takes dying to self.
So what about you? Are you serving others the way Jesus would have done so? In your home? With your spouse? How about with your children or with your parents? How about your church family or your neighbors? Your employees? Can you see any way that you could be more like Jesus in this area? I certainly can in my life. Tell me about yours!