Maintaining a Servant's Heart

In this high-tech age very few of us have servants in our homes. We can prepare food quickly with electronic appliances and microwave ovens, making kitchen help unnecessary. We have automatic washers and dryers instead of laundry help. Cell phones and instant messages replace messengers.

Although advanced technology may perform many functions of servants, it can never take the place of a servant’s heart. That kind of heart is found only in people.

God gifts us for service in a variety of ways. Although our gifts may differ, we all have one thing in common—the need to maintain a servant’s heart in all we do, following the example of servanthood modeled by Jesus.

From the earliest days of following Jesus, the disciples were convinced He was the Messiah. They thought He would set up a kingdom and release Israel from Roman rule. Even when He spoke plainly of His coming death and resurrection, they did not understand what he was saying because of their preconceived ideas. Instead, they argued over who would be the greatest in the coming Kingdom. At that point, Jesus became explicit about the difference between His kingdom and others. He even washed the disciples’ feet to demonstrate His teaching. At that time, washing guests’ feet was an act of hospitality normally performed by menial servants.

Later, Paul taught the Philippians they should have the attitude of Christ in their relationships with one another. In Philippians 2:3-8, Paul describes the attitude of Christ. He wanted the Philippian Christians to show unity with each other. This unity would be possible as they humbly considered the interests of other as much as their own.

Ultimately, serving is an others-focused attitude. Paul said this: “For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake” (2 Corinthians 4:5). Sometimes this kind of service taps our God-given abilities, while other times it simply challenges the status of our hearts. In that case, when we are called on to do something that doesn’t necessarily fit our passion, we participate anyway because our hearts submit to the Spirit’s leading, and we focus on the needs of others.

One of the great things about serving is that it is not just an opportunity for us to share the wealth of our talents, time, or efforts with others. Serving is always a prime learning laboratory as well. It provides a wonderful way for us to be reminded of our dependence on God, and to learn that in our weakness, He is always strong. Serving leads to transformation.

What do you need to be a better servant for the Lord: a good attitude, more understanding of your spiritual gifts, boldness to get involved? Do you need discipline to get your time and priorities in order? Do you need the Lord to do a work of renewal in your life to bring fresh vision and strength for service?

Pray that the Lord will help you see your service as an act of worship and obedience to Him.