This is a series where we are learning to think like Jesus. Today, we’re going to look at another game-changing statement from Jesus.
Before we get to that statement, we’re going to work up to it first. This account is in both the gospel of Mark and Matthew.
“The mother of James and John, the sons of Zebedee,” Matthew 20:20 NLT
James and John were two of the twelve disciples, they were followers of Jesus. So the mother of these guys,
“…came to Jesus with her sons. She knelt respectfully to ask a favor. ‘What is your request?’ he asked.
She replied, ‘In your Kingdom, please let my two sons sit in places of honor next to you, one on your right and the other on your left.’” Matthew 20:21-23 NLT
Moms in here, do you blame her? She wanted the best for her kids. They already weren’t going to be doctors and lawyers, they were following Jesus around. The best she could tell her friends was they seem to be homeless fishermen.
But Jesus had done so many amazing miracles it was obvious he was going to do something great. Maybe she could say her sons have a seat in the luxury box.
Jesus said, you don’t know know what you’re asking here.
“When the ten other disciples heard what James and John had asked they were indignant.” Matthew 20:24 NLT
Can you picture this? They were mad. You’ve got to believe those ten other guys were upset!
They were mad because they were afraid that James and John were going to get something that they weren’t going to get. You’re probably pleased to know that the people who hung out with Jesus, those who were closest to Him, struggled with selfishness.
These guys were His followers, His disciples. They camped together, ate together and sat under the teaching of Jesus. They breathed in the same air as God in the flesh.
So what does Jesus do? He calls a time out.
He lays out the kingdom rules of what it means to follow Him that really set up a new paradigm that we have before us today, a new paradigm of living.
“Jesus calls them together and He said, ‘You know that in this world kings are tyrants and officials lord it over the people beneath them. But among you it should be quite different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant.'” Matthew 20:25-26 NLT
Jesus does not reject greatness, nor one’s pursuit towards greatness. But He does redefine it. He has us rethink it.
Jesus says if you want to be great, you serve. If you want to be in the front, you go to the back. Then He gives His own life as an example.
Jesus: “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45 NIV
This is a verse every Christian needs to have at their fingertips to remind them of why Jesus came, to tell others why he came and to remind ourselves of why we’re here.
Why Serve Others?
Jesus said, If you want to be great, you learn to be the servant of all. Why should I serve others? Let’s look at four motivations, why we serve others.
God is much more interested in why you do what you do than He is interested in what you do.
- It proves that I belong to Christ
The Bible says that even before you were born, God planned a life of service for you. The reason why so many people feel so empty is because they’ve missed the point of life. The Bible says that long ago God planned that we should serve others.
As I serve others, my own needs are met and as I give my life away, I find it. God says that the way that you know that you’re a part of the body of Christ is that you serve others. It’s the proof. It doesn’t save you. Christ’s work saves you. The cross, the resurrection. But how do you know you really believe it?
“And now you are united with the one who was raised from the dead. As a result, we can produce a harvest of good deeds for God.” Romans 7:4b NLT
In the parable of the soils the good soil is the one who hears and then produces a harvest. God says that the way that you know that you’re a part of the body of Christ is that you serve others. It’s the proof.
A non-serving Christian is a contradiction. There’s no such thing.
- Serving others is the way to serve God
We all like to serve God, but we don’t like to serve others. Jesus said, the way you become the servant of God is to be the servant of others.
No matter what you’re doing, who are you doing it for? You’re doing it for the Lord.
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Colossians 3:23-24 NIV
Sometimes you do something for someone and they aren’t very grateful or don’t seem very grateful. It doesn’t seem to be making a big difference. Ultimately, you’re not doing it for them anyway.
- Because I owe God everything
Gratitude, thankfulness – it changes everything. The reason why we serve the Lord is because of what God’s done for us – because of His mercy.
When we begin to think of what Jesus Christ has done for us, the sacrifice that He’s made for us, there is no sacrifice we can make for Him that will ever compare to what He’s done for us.
“I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.” Romans 12:1 NLT
- Because service is the best use of my life
It is the best use of my life to serve God by serving other people in Jesus name. The fact is, what counts is giving your life away. The Bible says, whatever you do, since you do it as to the Lord, it all counts.
When you go home and put your kids to bed and do the dishes and take out the trash those are just as important as your job or when you serve at church. It’s not so much what you do, it’s your heart and how you do it. What’s your attitude? So there’s no insignificant service in God’s eyes.
“So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.” 1 Corinthians 15:58 NLT
Nothing you do is without value if you do it for the Lord. The Bible says that nothing you do in the Lord’s service is ever without value. When you minister, you’re making an impact for eternity. We have an awesome opportunity for you to serve coming up next week.
Next Saturday, July 18th, we’re having our big serve day where you can make a difference. The goal is that the whole church wherever you are in your journey would participate in this. There’s a way you can make a difference. There are several different projects happening indoors, outdoors, earlier in the day, later in the day. Projects that you work with people or ways you could serve without contact with others.
Find out more at RockBrook.org/Serve
Traits I’ve Learned From Rock Brook
You want to know about Rock Brook’s greatest strengths, it would be serving. The willingness to get our hands dirty and do things outside of comfort zone. Far above the national average of the percentage of our church that is actively regularly serving.
Let’s look at five Biblical Traits of a true servant, all things can be learned from the people of Rock Brook Church.
“Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!” Psalm 100:2 ESV
Not sadness, gladness. Don’t you love serving with people who want to be there. It’s the same as working with people who love to be there.
1. A true servant sees service as an opportunity not an obligation
Nothing is a poorer testimony than somebody who’s serving the Lord because they have to! That’s no testimony. If you can’t serve the Lord with gladness, you need to check your attitude. You need to go back over all those things Christ has done for you and realize the motivations that will create gladness in your life.
“I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service. 13 Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief.” 1 Timothy 1:12-13 NIV
God uses imperfect people. He uses ordinary people.
All of us have things we wish we could change. All of us have regrets and mistakes and memories we wish had never happened. We all have these things in our lives.
But God’s grace is that He takes ordinary people, with ordinary backgrounds and uses them in extraordinary ways.
None of us deserve to be saved, much less be able to serve Him. So a servant sees his service as an opportunity, not as an obligation.
2. A true servant doesn’t criticize other’s service
A person with a real servant-heart does not judge other people’s service.
“Who are you to criticize someone else’s servant? The Lord will determine whether his servant has been successful. The servant will be successful because the Lord makes him successful.” Romans 14:4 GWT
Ask yourself, “Do I secretly compare my service with other people for the purpose of criticizing them?”
If I’m a servant of God, I don’t have any right to criticize others God will hold them accountable. I don’t have to worry about them, I just have to worry about me.
One thing to note about comparison, not all comparison is bad. If you don’t compare, you’ll never grow.
Where comparison get’s really dark is when we begin to criticize. When we criticize others or ourselves. Everything looks better from a distance. Comparing your life, your family, your city, your church, your job, to another from a distance, is very unhealthy. When we compare parts of our life to a feed on our phone. It leads to very unhealthy places. So we don’t compare negatively, we don’t criticize.
3. A true servant is more concerned with ministry to others than with making money
You can’t serve God and money at the same time. Money is neutral. It’s not evil in itself. It is the love of money that is the root of all evil. For believers, money is to be spiritual.
Our Lord said that would lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven. We should be wise in the way we use our money. Then when we come to the end of life, we will be welcomed into heaven.
“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own? No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. He said to them, ‘You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight.'” Luke 16:10-15 NIV
4. A true servant is a peacemaker not a troublemaker
Troublemakers have a long line of burned bridges behind me. They fight with people and constantly argue. it’s an indication that at that point, they aren’t being a true servant.
“Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.” 2 Timothy 2:23-24 NIV
One of the reasons why Rock Brook has so very few dissensions and discord is because we have so many servants.
5. A true servant gives the credit to God
A real servant recognizes where his ability comes from and he or she gifts the glory to God.
“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 4:10-11 NIV
Servants who love the Lord and serve the Lord with gladness.
Briefly check back on your discussion from the last week, “Learning to think like Jesus” and the characteristics of thinking like Jesus.
As we learn to think like Christ we see that “even even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45 (NIV)
We serve others because it proves we belong to Christ, it’s the way to serve God, we owe God everything and it’s the best use of our life.
The traits of a true servant are 1) A true servant sees service as an opportunity not an obligation. 2) A true servant doesn’t criticize other’s service. 3) A true servant is more concerned with ministry to others than with making money. 4) A true servant is a peacemaker not a troublemaker. 5) A true servant gives the credit to God.
Discussion & Application
- What’s a way in which someone has served you? What made it memorable?
- What’s been your motivation to serve others? One of the four listed or maybe another reason?
- Read 1 Timothy 1:223-24 — When are you more likely to see serving as an opportunity? When are you more likely to see it as an obligation?
- Read Romans 14:4 — Has comparison and criticism ever robbed you of the joy of serving?
- We’re serving the community this Saturday. What’s one way you could serve your family this week?
Ask how you can pray for and support one another this week.
God, give us the courage that we might understand what it means to serve, to serve one another and ultimately to serve You. Thank You that You came to earth as an example. May we be more like You. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
SERVE Day is on July 18th. Make sure you have all the details nailed down and are signed up!
Preview projects, sign-up and see donation list:
- SERVE Day on App