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Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Life Of A Servant

John 12:26 - If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.

Being a servant is not something that is characteristic of the human condition. Our fallen nature keeps us seeking prominence, promotion, and prestige. Our clamoring for new heights bears subtle testimony to the depth of our fall. It is so much a part of our natural condition that if we are not careful we can even serve for purposes of self-promotion.

The fact is we are not born little servants but little tyrants. We are born expecting that the world will lay prostrate at our feet and move heaven and earth to meet our slightest need. From our earliest moments we raise the sharpest cry when the meeting of our needs is postponed for any reason. While we may become slightly more refined as the months turn into years the basic problem is still deeply rooted in the human heart. I do not want to serve, I want to be served.

Our tendency is to suspect everyone of trying to get the upper-hand, because we know we are trying to get the upper-hand. We despise those who callously step on and over others in order to advance themselves and thus look for every opportunity to step on or over them having convinced ourselves that they are not near as worthy as we are to assume the throne! We thus live in a world of tension where each is trying to promote self and all service is rendered to that ultimate objective.

There is no liberty like the liberty that comes to grips with it is not about me! It is first and foremost about God and then about others. This frees us from the pressure of advancing our own cause. It liberates us from the quest of conquering the throne. It gives us the opportunity to live for the advancement of God’s kingdom and Christ’s church and for the genuine good of others.

It frees us to live the life of a servant!

"if any man serve me, let him follow me"

This is the essence of a servant.  To serve is to follow.  A man who would serve must be willing to follow and where there is an unwillingness to follow there can be no true service rendered.  This is no doubt why the Lord raised the issue of following him over and over again.

• Mt 4:19 - And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.

• Mt 8:22 - But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.

• Mt 16:24 - Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

• John 10:27 - My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

• John 21:18-22 – What is that to thee follow thou me.

What are the implications of this truth?

1.  To follow means we do not lead.  We do not set the agenda.  We do not tell the Lord what we are going to do for him, we ask him what he wants us to do for him.

2.  This narrows my responsibility to one.  Follow Him!

3.  I must eschew my own way.  I can't follow if I insist on going my own way.  I must be willing to surrender that prerogative.  I must choose his way over my own.

"and where I am, there shall also my servant be"

This is the commitment of a servant.  This statement presents a logical progression of thought.  If we serve him it is because we follow him and if we are in the same way with him we will be where he is.  It is a fundamental principle that the servant is with his master.  It is all ultimately about being where Jesus is.  It is interesting to note where we find Jesus in the gospels.

1.  We find him in poverty (Luke 2:24; Luke 9:58)
2.  We find him in conflict (John 9:58)
3.  We find him being hated (John 15:17-21)
4.  We find him being forsaken by all (Mark 14:50)
5.  We find him being falsely accused (Mark 14:56)
6.  We find him hanging on the cross (Mark 15:25)

"if any man serve me, him will my Father honour"

This is the honor of a servant.  Jesus said if any man serve me.  According to the text to serve him means to follow him, to be where he is.  If we are following him the Father will honor us.  Sometimes it is interesting to note what the Bible does not say.

It does not say the world will honor him.  But the servant is OK with that.  He has long since lost any desire for the honor of the world.  He has been too busy serving to worry about who is being honored and who is not.  It does not say his contemporaries will honor him.  It does not say history will honor him.

It does say the Father will honor him.

Matthew 25:21 - His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
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