Gotta Get Your Servant On

19 11 2009

Now I must say when I first think of the word servant it takes me to thoughts of Kunta Kente and the slavery our ancestors went through for generations.  It makes me think of being subservient, docile, being made to be ignorant, having to bow down and being less than.  However on the other end of this servant continuum is this…..

 “… but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave—  just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” – Matthew 20:26-28

Hmmm…in other words those that seek power and position would do better to approach this as a servant? Jesus himself was a gift to the world as He came to serve and to give to us and not to receive from us and Jesus even becoming flesh was an unselfish act for us all.  So what does it really mean to serve?   We will look at it through what I call the 3 ingredients of a servitude which are; 1) a giving spirit, 2) humility and 3) a pure heart.

When I think of someone who has a giving spirit I think of someone that gives of themselves to benefit others.  It is the mother that gives up her career to stay home with her kids however it is also the mother that works 9 to 5, comes home cooks dinner and bathes her kids, reads them a story at night and tucks them in, even though she is worn out from the days stress.  It is about finding your talent and passing it on. It is making time when you don’t have it and giving it anyway.  It is lending a hand even when you are tired and worn out.  It is thinking beyond yourself to meet another’s need that may be GREATER than yours. It is an act of love that is a gift that keeps on giving.

A humility of mind knows that everything is not about YOU but instead you look for ways to be of service to others. 

And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. – 1 Corinthians 2:4-5

It is the God in you that shines forth in the act of seeking beyond self to the needs of others.  So in essence you do not focus on all your accolades and honors, your jobs or your titles but you let your light shine as you give of your talents in service to others so that they too may be lifted up.  For even Jesus humbled Himself and become flesh and to take it a step further you did not see hear Jesus walking around saying “Do you know who I am!” Instead you found Him with the prostitutes and tax collectors, He humbled Himself and met people where they were and in serving those that were forgotten, they were able to see the God in Him.

“No person was ever honored for what he received. He was honored for what he gave.” – Calvin Coolidge

A pure heart moves our focus toward the inner person = the heart.  A pure heart serves without motive.   There is not hidden agenda.  There is no focus on doing the right thing for the right reasons but instead a desire to serve authentically to help.  

 “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” – Acts 20:35

 Let me see if I can summarize all  3 of these concepts.  To be a servant is the highest honor.  Yes everyone wants to be in some kind of important role or a leader. Nobody wants to be a follower and leadership, the position and power should not be our focus.  As a matter of fact, there is a term that is called the Servant Leader. Which was created by Robert K. Greenleaf and in “The Servant as Leader”, an essay that he first published in 1970, he had this to say …  The servant-leader is servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions…the difference manifests itself in the care taken by the servant-first to make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served.”

In his second major essay, “The Institution as Servant”, Robert K. Greenleaf said: ” caring for persons, the more able and the less able serving each other, is the rock upon which a good society is built. Whereas, until recently, caring was largely person to person, now most of it is mediated through institutions – often large, complex, powerful, impersonal; not always competent; sometimes corrupt. If a better society is to be built, one that is more just and more loving, one that provides greater creative opportunity for its people, then the most open course is to raise both the capacity to serve and the very performance as servant….”

And doesn’t Robert Greenleaf just say it all!  A better world IS to be created by each of us making our highest priority serving the needs of others. This indeed is the ingredient that makes our world a better place for EVERYONE and that indeed is why it is important for us to each improve our serve.  That is to find for ourselves – a giving spirit, humility and a pure heart – the ingredients to cultivate our servitude – as a gift we each give to the world.

“Everybody can be great. Because anybody can serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

 “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ~ Maya Angelou




One response

2 12 2009
JC Conrad-Ellis

I’m chuckling as I read this because I’m teaching my children this very principle: that they should do at least one random act of kindness each day. When we go to the mall or store, they often see me scoop it and toss it in the trash, and then they get my standby lecture on how ignorant it is to litter…”If you’re on a date with a guy and he tosses trash out of the car, dump him!!!” I rant. Or as we’re walking through the store, if I see something on the floor I pick it up and place it where it belongs & continue my shopping. Over Thanksgiving, my 9 year old did that! And said, “I just did my good deed for the day.” And then my 12 year old shared a story where she’d done a similar act the day befoer. I thought it was cute how they were trying to out do each other with their acts of kindness. It’s the small seeds/things that lead to bigger things…What does it cost to pick up the soda can strewn by your car? Nothing. Or to hang the blouse that’s slipped from the hanger. I believe that there are angels living on the earth dressed to look like people and an angel is usually watching our every move so I want at least some of my moves to be servant led acts!

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