The Power to Serve Others

Author: Matt Snellings
April 17, 2019

When Jesus started His ministry here on earth, He chose twelve men to do life with. Part of doing life together was training them to spread the Good News about what they would see. Those twelve men were called His “disciples” or followers.  

They were picked in a very unique way. Jesus would walk by them and utter two simple words: “follow Me.” He could have said, “I want you guys to start a Bible study. Become experts on the Torah and WOW people with your knowledge. Make sure to show them what all of the Hebrew words mean and put together some pretty nifty handouts so that they might be impressed with your organization.” He didn’t do that. Mainly because Jesus would never say “nifty.”

He could have even said, “We need a really slick promotional campaign before we get this thing started. Peter, you’ve got a donkey right? Go get Bartholomew. I know he has a sign making business. Get him to make a sandwich board and put it on that donkey. It’ll read ‘All healings half price!’ and in small print write ‘Demon possessions not included.’ That’ll bring them in!”  Spoiler alert: He didn’t do that either.

He didn’t say either of those things. Instead, He chose a totally different strategy. One that wasn’t too flashy and one that didn’t have too many perks. He simply said, “follow Me.” So, His disciples did just that. They ate with Him, travelled with Him, witnessed miracles with Him and even watched as He defended Himself against the Pharisees. 

As they followed Him, they observed one thread that was woven throughout His entire ministry: He loved people. He loved them so much that He was willing to do anything for them. That is called “serving.”    

When you serve, you put the needs of others above your own. This was a hard concept for the disciples. Case in point: there was a conversation that took place between them that got out of hand fast. It escalated quickly. James and John wanted to know if they could have one simple privilege from Jesus: to be second and third in command when they got to heaven. They wanted power. They wanted prestige. Here’s how the disciples reacted:  

Hearing this, the ten began to feel indignant with James and John. Calling them to Himself, Jesus said to them, “You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their great men exercise authority over them. But it is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many. Mark 10:41-45

Wow! Jesus sure knew how to end an argument. His point was simple. According to God…

Power isn’t found by pushing other people down, it’s found by helping them up.

Jesus led by example. He was the Son of God, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. He could have demanded that others serve Him and set up a kingdom that would rival Camelot! Instead, He came as a carpenter’s son and His followers were fishermen, tax collectors and a few sketchy characters. He picked the most disadvantaged people to help. Those who couldn’t do anything in return. Jesus associated with people on the fringes of society that had been ostracized and forgotten. He was in love with these people! He showed His love by becoming their servant and their slave.

How about us? I find that I am a lot more like James and John. I want to know how I can benefit from any given situation. Becoming a servant and a slave means I should swallow my own pride and get my hands dirty. How can we be more like Jesus?

While the world scrambles for power by bad-mouthing others, dismantling people’s beliefs and shoving their weight around, we stand out. We stand out by serving others and showing them that we care more about them, than our own agenda.  

When we serve others selflessly, we are most like Christ.

We are most like Jesus because we are displaying a type of love that isn’t contingent upon people agreeing with us. It is the type of love that stoops down to wash feet. It is the type of love that would die on a cross in someone’s place. That is putting the needs of others above your own.  

How can you serve someone this week? How can you rely on God’s power by humbling yourself and serving someone who can’t pay you back or return the favor? It could be as easy as paying for someone’s meal or coffee. It could be leaving a gift at someone’s door who is in need. Maybe it means taking a Saturday to help feed and clothe those without homes or helping your neighbor with their fence. You could even say a kind word to someone who isn’t normally kind to you.  

Pray that God would reveal to you how you might become a servant and slave to someone in need, so they might come to know the love of a King. One who would be willing to serve to the point of dying on a cross.

Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Philippians 2:8
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