Previous blogs have covered the top ten teachings of Christ (seen on page 133 of the download ‘What on earth have we done with the teachings of Jesus’). Continuing now with Christ’s additional teachings. The next of which is ‘Serve others’.
Recently the country of Malawi has sworn in a new president. His name is Lazarus Chakwera. A former preacher, he says God called him into politics to Pastor a nation. He has been described as a servant leader and one of the first photos of him as a new president was of him with a mop and bucket. He obviously knows the importance of the command to serve others.
Jesus came to lead by example
Mr Chakwera must be familiar with Matthew 20:26 in which it says, whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant. Jesus led by example Matt 20:28 – The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.
Who are we to serve? We are to serve the Lord – If anyone serves Me, he must [continue to faithfully] follow Me [without hesitation, holding steadfastly to Me, conforming to My example in living and, if need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in Me]; and wherever I am [in heaven’s glory], there will My servant be also. If anyone serves Me, the Father will honour him, John 12:26.
We serve the Lord by serving others. Jesus uses a parable of the Talents to illustrate this message. A man was about to go on a journey, so he called his servants together and entrusted them with his possessions. He gave one five talents, to another two talents and to another one talent. The first two multiplied the talents, but the latter one hid his talent and did not reap a return on it. The man returned and rewarded the first two and reprimanded the last.
To everyone who values his gifts from God more will be given
We have been given gifts and talents by God to be used for His glory and to further His Kingdom. If we do nothing with them there is a stark warning in scripture – For to everyone who has [and values his blessings and gifts from God, and has used them wisely], more will be given, and [he will be richly supplied so that] he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have [because he has ignored or disregarded his blessings and gifts from God], even what he does have will be taken away. And throw out the worthless servant into the outer darkness; in that place [of grief and torment] there will be weeping [over sorrow and pain] and grinding of teeth [over distress and anger], Matt 21:29.
He will lead us to serve others
We’ve been given talents and gifts by God and we must use them. If we do nothing with them but furnish ourselves with more comforts and pleasures then there will come a day when we will weep and grind our teeth. In serving the Lord, by utilising our gifts and talents, He will lead us to serve others – Sitting down [to teach], He called the twelve [disciples] and said to them, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be last of all [in importance] and a servant of all,” Mark 9:35.
May our prayer be like that of Zacharias on receiving the revelation of the calling of his son John, John the Baptist “To grant us that we, being rescued from the hand of our enemies, Might serve Him without fear”, Luke 1:74.
It is the duty of Christ’s disciples
Henry says – How shall it be among the disciples of Christ? He that will be great among you, that will be chief, let him be your minister, your servant, Matt. 20:26-27. That it is the duty of Christ’s disciples to serve one another, for mutual edification. This includes both humility and usefulness. The followers of Christ must be ready to stoop to the bottommost of offices in love for the good of one of another. (1 Pet. 5:5 all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another [tie on the servant’s apron], for God is opposed to the proud [the disdainful, the presumptuous, and He defeats them], but He gives grace to the humble.) and (Eph. 5:21 be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ).
We must edify one another (Rom. 14:19 let us pursue [with enthusiasm] the things which make for peace and the building up of one another [things which lead to spiritual growth]). We must please one another for good, (Rom. 15:2 Let each one of us [make it a practice to] please his neighbour for his good, to build him up spiritually). The great apostle Paul made himself everyone’s servant (1 Cor. 9:19 For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to everyone, so that I may win more [for Christ]).
He had no pompous train of state-servants
It is the dignity of Christ’s disciples to faithfully discharge this duty. The way to be great and chief is to be humble and serviceable. Those are to be best accounted of, and most respected, in the church, and will be so by all that understand things aright.
Never was there such an example of humility and condescension as there was in the life of Christ, who came not to be ministered unto, but to minister. When the Son of God came into the world, the Ambassador to the children of men, He had no pompous train of state-servants to attend Him. For He took the form of a servant. He was indeed ministered to as a poor man, which was a part of His humiliation. There were those that ministered to Him out of their substance (Luke 8:2, 3). He once washed His disciples’ feet, but we never read that they washed His feet. He came to minister help to all that were in distress.
Never was there such an example of generosity and usefulness as there was in the death of Christ, who gave His life a ransom for many. He lived as a servant and went about doing good. He then died as a sacrifice, and in that He did the greatest good of all. Jesus Christ laid down His life for a ransom. Our lives had been forfeited through sin. Christ, by parting with His life, made atonement for sin, and so rescued ours. He was made sin, and a curse for us, and died, not only for our good, but instead of us. 1 Pet. 1:18, 19 [you were actually purchased] with precious blood, like that of a [sacrificial] lamb unblemished and spotless, the priceless blood of Christ).
Be fervent in doing good
This is a good reason why we should be fervent in doing good, and in consideration of the love of Christ in dying for us, not hesitate to lay down our lives for the brethren, 1 John 3:16 By this we know [and have come to understand the depth and essence of His precious] love: that He [willingly] laid down His life for us [because He loved us]. And we ought to lay down our lives for the believers).
There is no preferment to be had under Him, but an opportunity for, and an obligation to so much the more labour and disdain. If any man desire to be first, he must be much the more busy and serviceable to everybody. Those who are most humble and self-denying, most resemble Christ and shall be most tenderly owned by Him. This He taught them by a sign. He took a child in His arms, that had nothing of pride and ambition in it. “Look you,” He said; “whosoever shall receive one like this child, receives Me. Those of a humble, meek, mild disposition is such as I will own and encourage everybody else to do so too, and will take what is done to them as done to Myself. So will My Father too, for He who thus receives Me, receives Him that sent Me, and it shall be placed to his account, and repaid with interest.”
Adapted from the Matthew Henry Commentary
I come among you a One who serves Allow yourselves to be subjected To the most rigorous tests For you are a worker in your Father’s house Look on all you meet as guests. Everyone is to be treated with love. You must always be ready to prove Your Sonship by service so let there be Nothing of yourself to remove. As a servant of all Is there anything you cannot do? There is no work of Mine That is beneath you. Be ever ready to do all you can. I came humbly to serve Live for others; apply yourselves With all necessary vigour and verve. There is gladness in service An unequalled thrill That comes in helping others A joy in doing My will. When we serve You in all things We are indeed complete For we act for our Lord and Master Who washed the disciples’ feet. So, in service for others Express your love for Me. In your dedication try in all things To see as I would see. By the late Andrew Feakin (passed away 16th March 2019)
Prayer: Father, reveal to me the talents and gifts you’ve given me and teach me to deploy them in Your service. Forgive me where I’ve buried them or used them purely for my own purposes. May I be a true servant who invests in them wisely and lives to serve others in Your name. May I serve You without fear. In the name of Christ, I pray. Amen.