“The kings of the world rule over their people, and those who have authority over others want to be called ‘the great providers for the people.’ But you must not be like that. The one with the most authority among you should act as if he is the least important. The one who leads should be like one who serves. Who is more important: the one serving or the one sitting at the table being served? Everyone thinks it’s the one being served, right? But I have been with you as the one who serves.” ~Jesus, Luke 22:25-27
When people dream, they are typically centric to the theme of that dream. They are the champion, they are the hero, and they have achieved greatness in the moments where it matters most. It’s like a boy who imagines hitting that walk-off homerun in game 7 of the World Series, or the boy who pretends to throw the Super Bowl winning touchdown. You will hardly find anyone dreaming about things centered on serving others from their own volition.
The thoughts and inclinations of Jesus’s heart and mind led Him to a cross (Heb. 12:2), yet ours usually leads us away from it. Only by grace and transformation can we hope to even consider serving others in Christ-like fashion. Even a person who isn’t saved and, honestly, gives their lives for others, I believe, is a quality achieved by the common grace given by God, which is for His own purposes. We are far too evil (intrinsically) to do it of our own volition, and many times when we “serve” others, deep down, we are actually serving ourselves.
My view of humanity, then, should be clear; we are intrinsically evil just as God is intrinsically good, and the measure of which these characteristics exist within each party is equivalent. In other words, to the extent that God is good, which is infinite, humanity is equally evil. We are completely depraved and incapable of doing anything good, or good enough, for God to accept. Our only hope is found in salvation, which makes us righteous and salvages our eternal soul through the redeeming work of Jesus Christ. He saves us in our mind, in our heart, in our inclinations, and to our very core. His salvation is completely and utterly regenerative. My view, then, is in agreement with the Apostle Paul who states, “I know that good does not live in me—that is, in my human nature. For even though the desire to do good is in me, I am not able to do it. What a miserable person I am! Who will save me from this body that brings me death? I thank God for his salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Rom. 7:18, 24-25). Therefore, any form of “goodness” can only be achieved through solidarity with Jesus Christ. At salvation He imputes His righteousness and holiness to us by means of justification, and in turn sanctifies us, which allows us to love others with God’s love and, thus, serve others with Christ’s service.
I have discovered that ministry means nothing if it is not aimed at serving others in its entirety. This may sound a bit redundant because, of course, ministry is about service, right? No, rather, that assumption is false. The Apostle Paul himself acknowledges the reality that there are “ministers” who preach Christ for their own gain (Phil.1:15-18). We, admittedly, see this today that there are many ministers who use the name of Jesus for fame and fortune. The same type of thing occurs with everyday Christians who “serve” others for their own interests, whether to earn favor with God or men. Both actions harm the Church and discredit Christ. Thankfully, God’s mercy and power extends past our faults.
Jesus’ form of leadership was contradictory to that of any king that had ever dwelt upon the earth. He came not to be served, but to serve (Matt. 20:28; Mk. 10:45). The Greek word used for “serve” (diakonéō) in the above Scripture reference literally means to be a type of attendant or waiter. Jesus came as the one serving the wine, and not the one receiving it. When you think of a king sitting at his table he is always the one at the head receiving all forms of service, entertainment, and required honor. In the Book of Esther, queen Vashti was deposed because she refused to entertain king Ahasuerus and his guests at his table. Yet, at Christ’s table it was Jesus, the King of kings, who performed the lowliest of services – He washed His servant’s feet. How remarkable! The King of the Universe performed a duty reserved for slaves, which was the reason for Peter’s restraint. However, Jesus then tells Peter, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
Jesus, in those moments, exemplified the work He would accomplish on the cross. The Apostle Paul states, “And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!” Jesus washed the disciples feet to symbolize that He was lowering Himself to our deserved indigent position in order to wash away our dirt, our scum, and our filth – He has made us clean. In that context Jesus says, “Who is more important: the one serving or the one sitting at the table being served? Everyone thinks it’s the one being served, right? But I have been with you as the one who serves” (Luke 22:25, 27). What a GREAT King! Jesus is more than we could ever imagine, and He is worthy of all glory, all power, and all praise forever and ever!
The Marks of Jesus are manifested through the believer when they take on Jesus’ mantle of servanthood. They are a people who fiercely love and whose service is dangerous. These are the people who inherit this King’s kingdom, because through their service to all, they only served the One (Matt. 25:31-46). We must ensure that this royal priesthood (all believers) is a fraternity of servants bonded to Christ in His life and in His death. We are to love as He loved and serve as He served. His love, God’s love, is obedience to His command and service, that’s all. This is why Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matt. 22:37-40). Therefore, priests, of the one true God, go and serve as our great King has served. Let us give comfort, give resources, give time, and give our lives for the “least of these” and, in turn, for our great King. This is what is expected of us, and the time for serving ourselves and our own interests is over. \
Consider this below:
“In whatever you do, don’t let selfishness or pride be your guide. Be humble, and honor others more than yourselves. Don’t be interested only in your own life, but care about the lives of others too. In your life together, think the way Christ Jesus thought.
He was like God in every way, but he did not think that his being equal with God was something to use for his own benefit. Instead, he gave up everything, even his place with God. He accepted the role of a servant, appearing in human form. During his life as a man, he humbled himself by being fully obedient to God, even when that caused his death—death on a cross.
So God raised him up to the most important place and gave him the name that is greater than any other name. God did this so that every person will bow down to honor the name of Jesus. Everyone in heaven, on earth, and under the earth will bow. They will all confess, ‘Jesus Christ is Lord,’ and this will bring glory to God the Father.”
~The Apostle Paul, Philippians 2:3-11