My Roles: Servant.

Servant. What comes to mind when you hear that word? Do you picture a royal palace with butlers and maids? Does the face of a Christ-like mentor come to mind? Or is your image more negative? Does servant sound demeaning? Christian comedian Tim Hawkins jokes “I hate it when someone says I have a servant’s heart. It means they want me to start stacking chairs! Servant’s heart means you’re a pushover and a loser!” As hilarious as that is, I think Tim’s sentiment is common in our culture, even church culture. 

God is working in me to teach me how true servanthood is played out in my daily life here in Malawi. The first thing He is teaching me is whom I serve. First and foremost, I serve the King of Kings, Jesus Christ. Every decision I make, every endeavor on which I spend my time, and everything I prioritize or neglect should be determined through the lens of who I am as Christ’s servant. It’s a temptation for me to adopt the attitude that simply being here and working with MCM is serving Christ, but my Master’s plan for me goes far beyond that. Though I rarely know why, He wants to use me to do BIG things for His kingdom. When I choose a heart that is humbly submitted to my Master, like Mary, God does amazing things. When the angel told Mary that her life was about to be turned upside down for the glory of God, she humbly responded with submission, reverent praise and thanksgiving.

“For nothing will be impossible with God.” And Mary said, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. And Mary said: “My soul exalts the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. “For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave; For behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed. “For the Mighty One has done great things for me; And holy is His name. ” AND HIS MERCY IS UPON GENERATION AFTER GENERATION TOWARD THOSE WHO FEAR HIM.” Luke 1:37-38, 46-50 NASB

Mary’s submission, reverent praise, and thanksgiving should be the humble response of all believers, including myself. Labeling herself a bondslave, or servant, of the Lord shows Mary knew who her Master was. It also shows that her heart is humbly submitted to His Lordship, no matter what He asked of her. Her praise shows that she was convinced that there is no more worthy Master. No idol she could create was more worthy of her service than Jesus Christ. Her thanksgiving shows that she chose to focus on the incredible blessing God was giving her rather than the immeasurable hardship she was bound to face. 

The two scriptures I’m committing to pray for myself as I learn how to serve Christ are 1 Samuel 3:10 and Luke 1:38. I want to expectantly wait to hear from the Lord, my Master, and then respond with a listening ear as Samuel did. “Then the LORD came and stood and called as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for Your servant is listening.”” (1 Samuel 3:10 NASB). After I’ve heard from the Lord, I pray that I stop trying to tell Him why that plan simply will not work. Instead, I want to echo Mary and say “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; May it be done to me according to your Word.” (Luke 1:38 NASB).

Since I serve the Lord Jesus Christ, I must also serve others. My Master modeled this for me daily during His life on earth. From washing the disciples feet, to healing the sick, to being a friend to the friendless, Jesus was constantly serving others. Philippians 2 highlights Christ example of service and calls us to emulate Him by placing others ahead of ourselves.

“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:3-8 NASB)

As 2019 begins to unfold, I’m asking God to rid me of my selfishness. So often I get so caught up in my own desires that I don’t even see the needs of others. With so many lost, needy and hurting people in the World, believers should never be at a loss for someone to serve. I’m asking God to give me eyes that see the needs of those around me and a heart full of grace ready to point them to the Savior who can fulfill their every need. 

Today’s journal is a part of my series on roles. I wanted to start with the role of servant for two reasons. First, it is the only role I’m going to discuss which all believers are called to fulfill. God is Master to all believers and all believers are expected to respond in humble submission. Second, I intend to live out all of my other roles within the framework of being a servant. In other words, my servanthood shapes everything I do. Join me next week to discuss the next role God has called me to fulfill: wife!