Pastor Dominic Cardamone
Many would prefer to be served rather than to serve. This was the mindset of the disciples in Mark 10. Jesus had to help them recalibrate their thinking. We too need recalibration in this area from time to time. Let’s consider a few highlights in this passage on being a servant.
The disciples were upset and irritated by what James and John did in verses 35-40. James and John ambitiously wanted to sit on Jesus’ right and left hand in the kingdom. They, in essence, were desiring position, prominence, power, and prestige. In fact, all the disciples had been disputing who would be greatest in the kingdom (Mark 9:33-35). Instead of having a Savior-focus (He is the greatest in the kingdom), they were having a self-focus. They were concerned only about themselves and their own greatest good to the exclusion of others. This is pride. And the Bible is clear in Proverbs 13:10a, “only by pride cometh contention.”
Jesus warns them against their improper ambition. He explains that the leaders of the world make it their practice to exercise their lordship and authority. They major on position and seek to have dominion over others. They wield their titles for selfish gain. They use their position to lord over others to their own benefit and interests, not for the benefit and interests of others. They push their power to get others to do for and serve them. It’s all about them, their agenda, their comfort, their recognition, their accolade, etc. They desire and demand the perks that power and position can afford them. They want to be waited on hand and foot.
Jesus has a different goal for his disciples. His expectations are higher. Their goal was to be served; Jesus’ goal was for them to serve. He desires for all His followers to exercise servitude, not lordship. The type of ambition and lordship exhibited by the world is not to be admitted within the ranks of His disciples. Jesus wants His followers to be known for lovingly and tenderly meeting the needs of others by serving them.
Serving is the honorable thing. It is the way by which to have the greatest influence. It is that which truly pleases God and will set you apart from the rest of the crowd. Those who choose to humble themselves and to be abased among the rest are the ones who are willing to do the lowliest, most difficult, and the unrecognized work. It is this person God elevates (James 4:10). Greatness is not measured by how many serve me, but rather by how many I serve.
Service to others should know no boundaries, have no exceptions, and have no prerequisites. Jesus taught His disciples to be a servant of all. We should not have respect of persons. There should be no prejudice when it comes to Christian service. James taught us not to possess the faith of Christ with respect of persons (James 2:1). Paul sought to reach all for Christ by serving all (1 Corinthians 9:19). We too should look for the opportunity to serve any person that crosses our path.
To strengthen the point, Jesus gave the example of Himself. Serving is what He came to do. He, God of the universe, humbled Himself and took upon Him the form of a servant.
Philippians 2:5-8, "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."
Jesus did the ultimate service of sacrifice. He willingly gave his life for others. We can be like him (godly) when we serve others. Is it your desire to follow the example Jesus has given to us? Look for someone to serve: your spouse, your children, your friend, your neighbor, your coworker, that stranger, even your enemy! Ask, “How can I be a help?” Ask, “How can I bear someone’s burden, lift a spirit, meet a need, seek to be a solution, or endeavor to play a vital role?”