For the past two Sundays I served as the guest worship leader at "Lifeland Community Church" in downtown Mason, Ohio. I enjoyed seeing some old friends who attend there.
Last week Pastor Chad Fagerland taught on the topic of servanthood and looked at the New Testament passage of Matthew 20:20-28. In the passage, the mother of two of Jesus' disciples approached Jesus and asked him if her sons could "sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom".
The passage concludes with Jesus telling his disciples in verses 25-28:
"You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."Even though Pastor Chad was speaking to a broad audience, I was struck at how much the passage applies to Christian leaders. Those who want to "become great", Jesus says must become a servant or a slave. I have to admit, that this is a difficult concept for me follow. "Do I always regard others better than myself?" I thought to myself. "No." I quickly replied.
Afterwards I did a little reading on the word that was used in verse 27 for slave. In the original Greek, the word is δουλος (doulos), which is sometimes translated "servant".
I discovered that it is used throughout the New Testament to refer to followers of Christ. Paul used the word in Galatians 1:10: "If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ."
"So, how do I become a servant or slave?" I wondered. At first the whole idea seemed so daunting, and so overwhelming. Then I remembered the Matthew 20 passage, that concludes in verse 28, "just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve".
"That's it." I thought. "I need to look to the Son of Man as a model of how to do this."
It still seems like a daunting challenge, but I do feel hopeful that I have a trustworthy model to follow.