Being a Servant 101

Mark 10:32-45

Have you ever done something the wrong way? I can remember putting a chair together and tightening the bolts too tight. As a result, it put unnecessary pressure on the chair, so when I sat down, it collapsed. In like manner, we can serve the wrong way. You see, being a servant is quite different than doing service. Being a servant must come before doing service if it is going to honor the Lord. Being a servant is intimacy with Christ—internal, while doing service is activity in the world—external.

The First point we learn from this passage is that service comes with a calling. Jesus knew—fully knew—what his calling was. Jesus considered the cost and nothing stopped Him from being obedient to His calling. God had sovereignly and providentially laid out the road He was to walk, and the plan He was accomplishing. In the same way, we have received a calling. God has called you not only to be a servant but to be a minister.You may say, "Wait a minute, I'm not called into the ministry; that's what we pay you pastors to do."No, we are all called to "equip the saints to do the work of the ministry." (Eph. 4:11)You have been entrusted with a ministry (see 2 Cor. 5:17-21). Just like Jesus, we are to let nothing, or no one hinder us from accomplishing what God has called us to do. He was sent to serve. He sends us out to serve. This is our calling. This is our ministry.

Second, service comes with a challenge. It's important to note that being a servant does not come easy. Once again, Jesus is talking about being a servant, and the disciples are still hung up on themselves. Why? Because serving does not come naturally to us. There is a voice in our heads from a fallen nature that encourages us daily to pursue selfish motives. Their request reveals their complete lack of comprehension of what Jesus has just said. It also reveals their selfishness. They wanted to be in the place of the highest honor. In other words, they wanted the best seats in the house. Once again they are confused on how God measures greatness. To be a servant takes divine enablement, not human-inclination. We are not inclined to behave this way. Yes, we have received a new nature, but the old nature still rages. There is a war within. (see Romans 7) Sadly, the disciples fail to see that the pathway to true glory is through humility. We must be willing to serve. Furthermore, the ten are angry with the two because of their own lust for the position of honor. Jesus teaches that their attitude reflects the attitude of the world. But it's not to be that way among them.

Finally, service comes with a cost. Jesus has told His disciples that He will die in Jerusalem. Now he tells them why. He came to serve and to give His life. Remember, Jesus said, "for even..."In other words, if anyone had the right to be served, it was Him. Instead, He came as a servant. How much more should we? This phrase emphasizes the remarkable humility of Christ. He was a servant Messiah and a suffering Messiah. We are called to follow Christ in sacrifice. Notice he came to give His life; no one takes it from Him. He did this because of His love, and we are to sacrifice as servants because of our love for Him. We needed a ransom because we willfully sold ourselves into slavery. As a result, we all are under the wrath of God. When He purchased us we were set free. Now we belong to Him. Therefore, we ought to spend our lives serving Him, by serving others.

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