Becoming a better Servant
Achieving Excellence in Ministry
Becoming a better Servant
What is your concept of the word “Servant”?
1. Lower class of citizen
2. Someone who has Limited options
3. Less respect
Most people would not consider the title “servant” a glamorous one.
1. People are not anxious to put “servant” on their list when applying for work.
2. They would rather have “Master” something or other but not servant.
Understandably so, confusion abounds when the words “Servant” and “Leader” are wedded together as the Christian ideal.
1. For most Christians, they have held to a secular or worldly definition of “Servant” and “Leader”.
2. For most, on the continuum servant and leader are on the opposite ends, giving the impression one is better than the other.
3. The attitude is: a leader is the ideal, preferable whereas a servant is considered undesirable, unwelcome position in life.
We need to redefine these words in the light of God’s Word, and when we do, we will discover a whole new meaning and likeness between these words “servant” and “leader”.
1. When you examine the life of Jesus, he empowers these words in a new and exciting way for living.
2. He transcends our petty understanding of what it means to be a servant/leader. And enables us to achieve beyond our expectations, excellence in ministry.
The first place we need to start is at the foundation. If the foundation is faulty, and weakened by years of decay then whatever is built on top will crumble in ruin.
1. We need to examine the foundational perspective on Servanthood.
a. The biblical concept of Servanthood in founded in the ultimate goal for all Christians.
b. Romans 8:28-29
c. The Fathers aim is to reproduce within each believer the very image of Jesus.
i. What does it this image look like?
d. Jesus provides two clues in His explanation of His coming found in Mark 10:45
2. Serving and giving
a. When we practice these two qualities they will help us be molded into the image of Jesus.
b. These two qualities shape us into living a selfless life
c. But this will not happen overnight
d. Just like an Olympic athlete’s who is competing for an event, he will train for years to prepare for that one race.
e. It will be a struggle, one which will pull at you from two directions, your natural selfishly rule (let someone else do it, enjoy life) and your godly desire to selflessly serve.
3. Serving versus Ruling
a. When you read the gospel accounts you’ll discover, Christ’s own disciples, men who lived with the greatest example of Servanthood ever, struggled to over come their desire to rule rather than serve.
b. Matthew 20 records the embarrassing occasion when a mother’s request exposed the Twelve’s selfish ambitions to reign with Jesus in His Kingdom
i. Matthew 20:20-21,24
c. Can you guess why the other ten become indignant?
d. Of course you can (because we would be thinking this way as well)… each one had the very same goal in mind, they had already claimed that specific throne next to Jesus.
e. They probably said “You’re not getting that position without a fight.”
f. Now Jesus perceiving their conflict pulled his disciples aside to spell out the sharp contrast between His way of ruling and the worlds.
i. Matthew 20:25-28
ii. “Whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slaves” (Assume for a moment your apart of this group, and living during this specific time.)
iii. You could hear their thoughts churning over with disappointment. Does he really mean your slave? I THOUGHT we were going to be rulers and have authority.
iv. Even Mrs. Zebedee didn’t challenge or continue to battle for that seat.
g. Don’t be to judgmental on those poor guys.
i. We too struggle with the temptation to rule instead of serving.
ii. Many churches today have the focus on superstars than on servants.
1. Celebrity-status leaders are sought after to draw and entertain crowds, because we have gone back to a worldly standard of associating greatness with popularity.
2. To guard against we need to remember there is only one leader, and one head of the church – Jesus Christ
4. This doesn’t mean the churches are to operate without any form of government, but rather all Christians are to function with a servant’s heart.
5. It’s all in the attitude
Paul: Servanthood Modeled
1. Outside of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, perhaps Paul is the finest model of Servanthood.
i. Once a Pharisee of Pharisees
ii. A ruthless persecutor of Christians
1. Saul became Paul after his conversion and spent the rest of his life passionately serving Christ and others.
2. LET TAKE A CLOSER LOOK AT THREE DISTINQUISHING QUALITIES OF SERVANTHOOD FOUND IN THE APOSTLE PAUL.
a. Blatant or Transparent Humanity
i. Listen to Paul’s words to the Corinthians
ii. I Cor.2:1-3
iii. Was the Apostle Paul being modest?
iv. No, actually he was being transparently honest about something even popular opinion confirmed.
v. 2 Cor. 10:10
vi. Paul had weakness, lots of them
1. And like a servant, he openly admitted his needs
2. He did not try and hide his humanity behind a mask of pride
3. Some try to over compensate their weaknesses with superiority over others, a know-it-all.
4. They view their flaw as shameful something to cover up and hide.
5. Servants are to be transparent, to be genuine rather than pretentious and possess a self-inflated attitude.
1. Turn once again to 1 Corinthians 2:2-4, you will discover another distinctive trait of Servanthood.
a. Paul’s concern was that others would not be impressed with ability, but with God power.
b. That’s genuine humility
c. Paul deliberately drew other peoples attention away from himself and to the Lord
d. We need to reflect this kind of humility especially when others are praising us for our abilities.
i. It doesn’t matter who get’s the credit
ii. But if you don’t possess an attitude of a servant than it will matter to you. Because you need to bolster your self-esteem.
e. Let’s take a simple test which can reveal whether or not someone is a servant.
i. Does this person manifest a non-defensive spirit when confronted?
ii. Does this person exhibit an authentic desire to help?
iii. Is he/she in touch with the needs of others?
f. A humble person is always looking for ways to help and care.
1. A third crucial characteristic of a servant is shown in Paul’s statements regarding the integrity of his ministry.
a. 2 Cor. 4:1-2
b. 1 Thess. 2:3-4
c. Paul’s transparency and humility, combined with his honesty, enabled him to minister free of ulterior motives, hidden agendas, hypocrisy, duplicity, and political games..
d. Paul was open to scrutiny and dedicated to the truth and to following through on his word.
e. All these are signs of an honest servant.
Where are you as a Servant?
Do you display a transparent life?
Do you exhibit genuine humility?
Do you demonstrate indisputable honesty?
Close with the prayer from Ken Gire’s book “Instructive Moments with the Savior”