Servanthood Volunteering Apart From Ego

Servanthood – Volunteering Apart From Ego

Jesus gave the supreme example of servanthood when He washed His disciples’ feet, showing an act of serving someone else in something dirty and devoid of honor. Then He said:

“I have given you an example that you may do as I have done to you.”

We do not serve only because there is much work to do, but because servanthood is being conformed to the image of Jesus and His godly character. This is a goal of discipleship, willingness to serve in the dirty details. We can’t be like Him without it.

Most people think of ministry as a combination of service and ego fulfillment but ministry means “service”.  God wants to separate our service from our pride and ego.

The only way this can be done is to serve someone else’s vision. You will never know if your pride is separated from your “ministry” until you serve someone else’s. It is the necessary instrument of separation.

Luke 16:12 If you are not faithful in what belongs to someone else, who will give you what belongs to you?

Most people who come to “help” at a ministry, say, “God has given me this vision or plan. Will you bless it?” However, the language of a true servant’s heart speaks differently. It says simply, with no strings attached, “How may I help you?”

The biblical pattern for fulfilling God’s vision and calling in life is: vision – death of a vision – rebirth of a vision. Joseph spent 13 years in jail before his started to be fulfilled. Moses had a vision of saving Israel but spent 40 years in the desert before it was fulfilled! 

Jesus said the kingdom of God is like a seed that falls to the ground and dies so that it bears much fruit. When a seed dies, the chaff is separated from the kernel. When our vision dies, it is separated from the ego attachment (chaff), dies, and then comes back to life, pure.

God calls us to servant leadership. Leadership is simply serving on a wider scale.

As far as honor is concerned, there should be no difference between teaching before thousands and cleaning a toilet. In most societies, however, the one who serves is not looked upon with esteem. Biblical values on this subject are contrary to the world system. To walk in servanthood, we must go against the values of society around us.

Matthew 20:25-26 The rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them… Let it not be so with you. Whoever desires to be great among you, let him be your servant.

We are not speaking of the spiritual “gift” of serving (Romans 12:7) which is a special grace, a charisma, for serving. Not everyone has it. We are talking about the character quality of serving required of everyone. Character comes before charisma. Fruit is more important than gifts. This character quality is the basis for all other gifts and callings.

We serve people. However, we are not merely serving human beings; we serve the Lord through them.

Ephesians 6:5 says servants should obey their masters… as unto the Lord. Our service is not dependent on other people’s reaction. We have only one desire: to be found faithful in the eyes of the Lord and to hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant” – Matthew 25:21, 23; Luke 19:17.

Let us follow Jesus’ example, strip ourselves of pride (Philippians 2), and develop this character quality of servanthood.

Unsung Heroes

1 Peter 4:10 As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards {managers} of the manifold grace of God.

1 Corinthians 4:2 Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.

The work of God is greatly hindered by a lack of involvement. This comes from a number of misunderstandings beginning with the mindset that accepts that the work of Jesus is given only to a specialized few. The truth is, God has a job for you and requires that you steward or manage it well.

Some don’t. Here are some misconceptions you can observe as keeping someone from doing what they were created in Christ Jesus to do:

Covetous heart – longing for what God has given others… Ask Him to show you what you are called and made to do.

Baby attitude – insisting on doing what you want to do or nothing at all. Ask the Lord about the concepts of selfishness, ego and pride.

Blaming God for shortchanging you – wanting to excuse laziness or lack of creativity in discovering how to use what He has given you.

Unbelief – the enemy has convinced you that you are not valuable and have nothing to offer.

Fear of man – caring what others will think or say of you if you pursue your divine destiny with relentless pursuit.

Unwillingness to invest – having counted the cost of giving up your life agenda, you have determined that it is more important for you to lay up treasure on earth.

Procrastination – waiting for a more convenient season – Acts 24:25 Now as he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and answered, “Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you.”  But that time never came.

Desiring a “normal” life = average life – such a life means you want to be left alone. It means you don’t want to be bothered. Success in attaining that means you will leave no mark, will go unnoticed, and will be unproductive. You and the devil will not be bothered. 

Asking for direction without commitment to obey – decide beforehand that you are going to do what the Lord leads. Asking for guidance without commitment to obey is saying, “…and after you speak I will decide if I’m going to do it.”

Refusing to start without every step being defined – Paul said after thirty years, “I have not been disobedient to the heavenly vision” which had been given at the onset of his salvation and ministry.  That heavenly vision gave him the end from the beginning but showed him nothing of the middle decades.

Some do invest time, talent, and treasure. These are the Unsung Heroes who have determined that the kingdom of God matters more than anything else. These are their qualities:

Faith – they believe God sees and rewards and act to please Him

Vision – they see more than they have today

Humility – they are excited to be part of a team (and seek no personal glory)

Faithfulness – they are dependable

Wisdom – they act to free others to do what they do best

Courage – they are not afraid of a challenge

These people are indispensable to the Body of Christ. They are the ministry of helps (1 Cor 12:28) “And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administra-tions, varieties of tongues.”

The Apostles made it clear: they had assignments that would only be met if the ministry of helps rose up. We have a picture of what that looks like in the Old Testament:

Exodus 17:11-12 11 And so it was, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed; and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. 12 But Moses’ hands became heavy; so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it. And Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.

Thus, Joshua mowed down Amalek. How many battles are being lost today for lack of support? The Lord needs life-service, not lip-service. God has already given every believer the equipment they need…but you must pick up your tools.

Ephesians 6:7 defines Unsung Heroes: “with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men”.

Notice that those who were doing practical things for Jesus were ministers of Jesus:

Matthew 27:55 And many women who followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to Him, were there looking on from afar,

These women were not preaching or teaching, not counseling or leading, but just taking care of everyday business. This is where we all start. Then we grow in the grace of God and, as He enables, go on to other things as seen in the ministry of Stephen:

Acts 6:2-3 2 Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, “It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables. 3 Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business;

Stephen was considered one of the best and was chosen to deacon (wait on tables = take care of practical business). Then he went out and did miracles…

1 Timothy 3:13 For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a good standing and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.

Service often leads into great exploits for God: Joshua; Elijah; Timothy. First they were Unsung Heroes.

Colossians 3:23-24 23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.

Each of us (and them) is saved and called according to the purpose and grace of God in Christ Jesus (2 Tim 1:9-10). Your calling is what you do, that which is in your hands. Your purpose is what you love, that which is in your heart. Keeping God’s purpose central in our lives is what connects what we do and what we love.

When God called Moses to a seemingly impossible purpose, Moses felt totally inadequate. God responded to Moses’ protests by asking, “What is in your hand?” What is in our hands (what we do in our everyday lives) is the very thing God can and will use to fulfill His purpose in our lives. He didn’t design us one way only to use us in another.

We need three things to help us connect what is in our hands with what is in our hearts: a revelation of who we are in Christ, a revelation of His Church, and a revelation of the cause of Christ. Faithfulness in our calling (what is in our hands) is the best way to fulfill the purpose of God in our lives.

Thank God for His gifts of salvation, calling, purpose and grace. Pray that each of us would have a revelation of who He designed us to be, the importance of the Church of Jesus, and Jesus’ cause.

Thank God for the divinely designed purpose implanted in each of us. Ask Him to help us to live for His purposes in every aspect of our lives.